My Executive


    Sep 05, 2013

    Digital detox offers respite from Internet

    ONE of the side effects of social media's omnipresence is so-called Net addiction. In response, some people are making a conscious effort to take a break from the digital aspects of their lives.

    According to a study conducted last year by Tokyo-based Neo Marketing, about 30 per cent of respondents in their 30s said they need a vacation from social media. Among those in their 20s, the figure was 40 per cent. The results reflected widespread fatigue from digital lifestyles.

    Some tech addicts are turning to digital fasting, or digital detox, which is an attempt to stay off the Internet for a set period of time.

    In Japan, a 45-year-old employee took a six-day, five-night vacation to the Kansai region's Ise and Shima areas. During the trip, he unplugged from the Internet and switched off his smartphone. In his spare time, he re-read some of his favourite novels.

    The man said he ordinarily spends every single day entangled in a wired lifestyle, whether sending e-mail messages from a company computer or connecting to social networks via smartphone after work.

    "I've got tired of this suffocating lifestyle where it's impossible to get away from the Internet," he said. "On my recent trip, I relaxed and enjoyed myself in a way that I hadn't in years."

    Mr Koji Takanashi, who works for Allied Architects, an Internet- related company in Tokyo, is another example.

    Since last year, he's been Net fasting on weekends. The 32-year-old often goes to the seaside not far from Tokyo with a colleague.

    In late July, he went to a deserted island in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, where he gave stand-up paddleboarding a try.

    His job keeps him glued to a computer on weekdays. "That's why I try to spend my weekends in nature," said Mr Takanashi.

    Immersed in a whole new environment, he comes up with new, effective ideas for work, he said.

    Other people start their digital detox when they begin raising children. Ms Ryuka Okubo, a company employee in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, stopped opening her laptop on weekends last year when she returned to work from maternity leave.

    When she takes her infant son out for a walk, she sometimes leaves her smartphone at home.

    "I have a closer relationship with my child (without my smartphone around). It's a breath of fresh air," said the 29-year-old.