A digital detox podcast

Listen to the podcast about doing a digital detox to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


Presenter: So, we're back in the studio. Welcome back, everyone. My name's Rick Walker. From our laptops to our televisions, from the displays on our smartphones to those on our satnavs, we are in front of screens all the time. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to disconnect completely? To choose not to have access to the internet? If you have, you may be in need of a digital detox – a total switch-off from all things digital. The idea of people taking a digital detox is becoming more and more popular, especially amongst young people – and today we're joined by someone who's tried a number of digital detox activities and is here to give us some advice about it. Amanda Vince, welcome to the studio.

Amanda: Thank you very much.

Presenter: So, Amanda, you work for a fashion magazine in London, right? I guess your work means you need to be online a lot.

Amanda: Oh, yes. Apart from the hundreds of emails I get every day, I'm always browsing fashion websites, as well as online videos. I also need to be very active online, especially on Twitter and Instagram – sharing what we're doing in the magazine, interacting with designers, photographers, influencers … it never stops, literally. Then of course there's my friends and family to keep in touch with online too, and for me, my work grew out of my passion, so friends and work colleagues aren't two totally separate groups of people and it all gets a bit messy online sometimes. I think I'm online for at least 12 hours a day.

Presenter: So, how did you get the idea for a digital detox?

Amanda: I read a book about it, called Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. The author's name is Blake Snow. That book gave me some really good advice and made me think about trying to change some of my digital habits. I started with removing distraction.

Presenter: What do you mean by that?

Amanda: That means turning off alerts, buzzes, alarms or notifications of any kind. I had notifications set up for everything, and it meant I was always being forced to look at my phone. Removing all of them except for important contacts helped me focus immediately. The book also made a really good point, that we should ask ourselves 'Why?' every time we take out our phone. I realised that most of the times I looked at my phone were because I was trying to avoid or ignore something else happening right in front of me. It was an automatic habit.

Presenter: I have to confess, that happens to me too. But what else are you going to do when you're standing in line at the bank or waiting for your train?

Amanda: OK, yes, I'm the first to admit that it's great for helping time go by. But speaking personally, I found I wasn't just checking my phone to kill time when I was alone. I was also doing it with friends or family around.

Presenter: Hmmm … right. Well, so far, this doesn't sound too drastic. Turning off notifications and becoming aware of when we use our devices. That sounds easy.

Amanda: Yes, it's the first step. Once we begin to realise just how much of a grip our devices have on us, then we're ready to really take the next step. First, my partner and I did a weekend with absolutely no screens. She found it easier than I did. For me, it was a little bit scary at first but it turned out to be a pretty rewarding experience.

Presenter: A whole weekend, huh? I don't know if I could ...

Amanda: I think everyone has to do this at their own pace. If a weekend feels too much, maybe just try for an evening. Then work your way up to more. I guarantee, once you've tried it, you'll want to try it again. We're going to try for a whole week in the summer.

Presenter: OK, let's pause there then and see what our listeners have to say. You can call us here directly, or send us a message on any of our social media channels ... oops, should I be saying that? Anyway, more after the break. 

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Worksheet102.59 KB

Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)
I would LOVE to do some digital detox. I am nowadays always at home (due to COVID), so my phone is always there for me, when I reach out my hand. I've found out that I am not able to focus on one activity without checking my phone, I am not even able to finish reading one book without starting reading another book. I have read an article, that our brain is little by little used to check various stuff by browsing Facebook or Instagram, but never staying on one, and this causes being not able to focus on one thing in everyday life. After listening this podcast, I decided to spend this weekend without internet. Wish me luck.:))
I think that making a digital detox could be a fun expirience, it could give me time to focuse on the people close to me that I have neglected because i was playing games or spending too much time on sosical media, maybe even talk to people i dont know instead of looking at my phone all day long.
Certainly, I would like to try this one day with a friend. I think it would be a great change for my life since I am always using my phone and I really hate this habit of mine . hi do you think putting a coma in the second sentence is necessary

Hi yoyoraw,

I don't think a comma is essential, but I think it would help to make the sentence easier to read and would improve the style. You could put a comma between life and since, or between phone and and.

Commas are often used in this way. They help to break up the sentence and guide the reader as to where the sense units are. In speech we do this with pauses and changes of tone. On the page we use punctuation to achieve it.



The LearnEnglish Team

I really don't use social media a lot, such as Facebook, Whatsapp, so on. However, I get annoyed when people are chatting while I am saying something and I have to say the same again and again because their mobile phones distract them. I think that their mobile phones is controlling people.
Well, I think the Internet gives us several opportunities to learn all the time, but I also think that we have become superficial and instead of using all these amazing tools, we only spend hour after hour on social media. In this way, I would like to do a digital detox from social media, but not from other websites.
I am a 47-year-old language teacher who lives in Belgium and I have always been a great fan of the unlimited possibilities the internet offers. After two decades, however, I have found that way too much time is spent on getting where you actually want to be. To be more precise, finding an exercise like the detox listening skill offered here - which is a high-quality exercise indeed- is offset by so much time of ploughing through low-quality material and endless button-clicking. And because that is so tiresome the possibility of disconnecting once in a while seems a very luring one indeed. Anyways, I am going to pass this exercise onto my pupils, because it will be a boost to their listening skills.

Hello TDP

We strive to produce the best quality content that we can, and so of course we are very pleased to know that you found this page useful and that you'll recommend it to your students.

I wanted to mention that LearnEnglish Teens and LearnEnglish Kids might also be of use to your students if they are not adults, or perhaps to their children if they have any at home these days.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

speaking personally, it would be a new experience when trying this method, as most people are nowadays addicted to the cellphone, turning it on even without any necessity, and consequently, this costs a lot of time, especially when they screw over Facebook in their spare time. It is totally a waste of time. A cellphone is needed or useful just when we are waiting for something or somebody.
Hello, The LearnEnglish Team, Please help me with the "advice" noun. Is both singular and plural form of it 'advice'? In the transcript, there are 2 sentences: 1) "and is here to give us some advice about it" 2) "That book gave me some really good advice". I'm not sure but I have ever seen "advices". Isn't, right? Hoping for your response. Thank you so much!

Hello Son Pham

'advice' is an uncount noun in these (and most) sentences. You're right that in most cases 'advice' is used this way; there are a few very specific specialised contexts where it can be plural, but in those cases it has a different meaning. You can see more about this in the dictionary entry I linked to.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

hi , is it right way to say from past time and still doing it ? i have already done this advises, and I am still doing it .

Hello lio_2028

Yes, you can use the present perfect ('I have already taken this advice') and then use the present continuous ('and I am still practising it') to indicate you started an action in the past and are still doing it in the present.

Well done!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

It's a good idea for so much people that surround me to got a detox, I always try to let the cellphone on the table everyday on evenings when my wife get at home
I'm not so immersed in online. I'm afraid that I don't need to do a digital detox at the mometn. ( ⁎ᵕᴗᵕ⁎ )
Dear English Language team, How often we should listen to the podcast before doing tasks 1 and 2. I listened two times and I did half of the exercise correctly.

Hello Omer Gul

That depends on what kind of learner you are, how difficult the page is compared to your level and many other factors. In general, I think listening two or three times is a good idea, but I would encourage you to experiment with different methods on different pages.

You could also consider listening a couple of times, then doing the exercises, then reading the transcript to check what you did in the exercises, and then finally checking the answers.

Best wishes


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, why the answer sheet is not available? how to check the answers on whether or not they are correct? How to access the answers? please guide! thanks

Hello Khatereh Zandiyeh

In the worksheet, the answers are available on page 6. In the online exercises, after you press the 'Finish' button, you can press the 'Show Answers' button. The 'Show Answers' button is not available until you press 'Finish'.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Oh no! I am not on line every time because people always talk about uninteresting things and I always find that a waste of time. But I think digital detox will be necessary for a lot of people which are still connected for nothing important especially some people become dependent of internet. It is not healthy and always bring you away from direct interactions and social activities.
Hi, I have some questions, please help me, thank you! Amanda: ......The book also made a really good point, that we should ask ourselves 'Why?' every time we take out our phone.

Hi Hung,

In your first example, 'that' introduces a noun clause with an appositive function. Appositive means restating an idea to make it clearer or more specific. Here, the 'a really good point' is restated in the that-clause to make it specific and clear.


In your second example, the phrase 'becoming aware of...' is followed by its object. The object could be a noun, a noun phrase or a clause. Here, it is a subordinate clause.

becoming aware of + object

becoming aware of when we use our devices

The -ing form is used after the verb mean when we want to express the result of an action:

I have to visit my mother tomorrow. That means leaving at 7.00 in the morning.



The LearnEnglish Team

I think it's difficult for me to a digital detox (my phone basically) because I'm not just use it for fun , I'm like most of the people my phone work as a teacher , ads port , and keep my in touch with important people and more But to be honest I feel a large relief and relaxation whend my phone broke down or hasn't been charged
yes,I think I am able to stay without my phone for a weekend,I think that digital detox is important and everyone should give it a try.
I totally agree with the fact that a digit detox is a wonderful idea and everybody should take this change into consideration. This fast pace of modern life has detrimental effects on people and all the gadgets are more harmful than useful. All of us have to use them when it is compulsory, for instance keeping in touch with some friends who are far away or for job purposes. Spending all your day in front of screens distracts your attention from this beautiful world and makes you be stuck in an unreal, imaginary universe.
My twitter says, " Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing—we're going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon." Can't help but do a digital detox... (╥﹏╥)
According to a research held by gadget-cover, despite many people state using their phones to communicate and keep connected, the entertainment is an underneath reason these statements, noticing we have social networks as Facebook in the podium of the rates about reasons why people use their phones. Now, considering our susceptibility to social networks, a suitable an accurate approach to be able to achieve digital detox, is by scheduling every activy we do a day, because one of the reasons why people frequently check networks is due to that custom that is presented in the "free time" that "allow" them to do such activity, so, While doing this, you will state your priorities either personal and work by stablishing a period of time in which you will be focused on your task, also you can realize and then dismiss those activities that you don't get a benefit from as consumer.
I have completed the lesson for A Digital Detox. The level I chose was Upper Intermediate B2.
i should say that digital detox seems great.i believe that most of the people spend too much time on digital space.The ease of access to milions of digital contents just by a phone has caused us to waste our time,time that can be used to think and imagine more instead.
Yes I would like to do a digital detox by turning off my phone when I am not in work .
Would you like to do a digital detox? Yes, I had already adopted the similar practise a few years ago, due to digital notifications and sounds made me nervous sometimes, sometimes a lot of distractions to weaken my focus and most of the time the digital devices gave me the neck, shoulder pains and eyes strains. After those things, happened to me, then I limit my usage of the digital devices. I also found out that now adays smartbands and smart watches are somewhat useful to reduce the time that you are looking your phones or tablets or other connected devices.
it would be useful for everyone to do a digital detox. I don't think I'm digital addicted but maybe sometimes I spend a lot of time to watch stupid video on the phone and then I realize that was just wasted time
I don't like the situation that I should check my smartphone as soon as there is a notification. It has been almost one year since I have to do so, because I put a flat on Airbnb and Tujia, I don't want the guest waiting. The Tujia APP really makes me nervous, if you don't answer in 10m it will call you again and again to remind you there's a question you should answer and at the same time it warns you if you do not answer in 30m, the ranking of your house will be down and there's a risk to be sold out. I don't like the feeling of cooperating with Tujia APP, literally.
It’s an informative and interesting experience, I think this idea can be used for mobile and telephone and I did it and it was very helpful for me.
As the speaker mentioned detox is more practical for younger ages who were used to digital devices as well as geeks. In some cases and jobs its inevitable to work majority of their time with these devices.
I don't need to do it. I'm not aware of my mobile phone the most of the time. Some days I forget charging it indeed!