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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

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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Yes, i would like to do a digital detox at least for one day evrey week. I think it is good to leave the devices for short time evrey week.

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.:))

Yes. I would, even though am already used to it.

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

alright, thank you

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.

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