You are here

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.

Transcripts

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. 

Discussion

Download

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

I would like to tell you about my personal case. I'm not a phone person, but I still spend about six hours a day on the phone. I find it very important and I often think that I would like to go back in time to when there were no telephones and live there for a few moments. I'm only 20 years old but I've noticed an evolution in the use of the telephone. When I was at school, I didn't use my phone much, it was only used to call if I had a problem, but seven or eight years later, I can't help but notice that the phone has become more important in my life. Indeed, after every class I feel obliged to look at my phone, especially to consult social networks. Despite this, I think my screen time is still reasonable compared to some of my classmates.

I would like to tell you about my personal case. I'm not a phone person, but I still spend about six hours a day on the phone. I find it very important and I often think that I would like to go back in time to when there were no telephones and live there for a few moments. I'm only 20 years old but I've noticed an evolution in the use of the telephone. When I was at school, I didn't use my phone much, it was only used to call if I had a problem, but seven or eight years later, I can't help but notice that the phone has become more important in my life. Indeed, after every class I feel obliged to look at my phone, especially to consult social networks. Despite this, I think my screen time is still reasonable compared to some of my classmates.

Personally, as a student in lock-down, I turned off most of my notifications, except the ones with friends, but the temptation of the phone just next to me is a really big deal. I've juste found that my average screen time for last week was over 14h per day, including my laptop. And it will be very difficult to reduce because I work on my laptop all day long, and when I'm not on it, I use my phone to check on friends or social media to interact because I'm stuck at home and do not have that much classes at university to see them. So it helps me to stay in touch, but every notification is a distraction for when I'm working on something so I turn on the "do not disturb" mode and try to hide my phone.

I think I need a difital dextox too, with the quarentine I get really tired everyday.

İ am using my laptop and phone for more than twelve hour per day to make useful research to complete my Ph.D and to keep in touch with my friends and relatives. I am far from home because of my job. I think it could be rewarding for me to do a digital detox. İ have already started by switching off all the notifications on my phone. Furthermore, I regulate the time I spend on social media. No more than 2 hours a day. İ could ensure you it has increased significantly my professional and intellectual productivity. The next step will be as Vince mentioned to ask myself each time I would like to use my phone or my computer, whether it is worthy and what is it for? İt will indubitably increase my awareness of the grid my devices still have on me. Thanks.

I would like to do a digital detox I think it's necessary, because we all are becoming depending on entirely our devices, especially our smartphones. So we waste our time, whereas we could make a better use of that.

Nope, I've just got new gadgets! ;)

I did some of these advices in my life and enjoy it. I think these principles are intrinsic. So every one can think about his life style with digital advices and solve his problems by his way. Although reading books like "Log off" is shortcut.

Hello. A digital detox is a great idea. I really need one and Amanda gave me key information to begin. Thanks.

I've tried to take a digital detox, but I haven't been able to do it, it's very difficult for me when I tried the first time I received a lot of notifications and all of that was very important, the second and last time I tried to do it almost I achieved it, I think if my friends had helped me when I requested them not to send me messages for one day I am sure I would have been able to achieve it.

Pages