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The other day, as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic and having just finished a day of seemingly nonstop phone, e-mail and text message exchanges, a story on NPR came on that hit home for me.

NPR’s website has a neat little feature: it stores all the stories it reports throughout the day in transcript form, so if you know the day and general time you heard something interesting on the air, you can always revisit the stories later. Which is exactly what I did.

Here is the story, which covers a company called Digital Detox that offers retreats geared around being completely unplugged from phones and laptops. Not only that, the retreat center detailed in the story has had full attendance at $350 a person.

Why is there such demand for retreats away from screens? Well, the story interviews Digital Detox co-founder, Levi Felix, who sees this as a sign of an increased awareness of digital devices’ intrusiveness. “People are feeling like something’s not right here,” he is quoted as saying.

The story hit home for me personally because I’ve had a love-hate relationship with technology for years. On one hand, the ability to text anyone at anytime is convenient, sure, but what about the flip side of this? What if you’re the one being contacted at all hours of the day? How do you deal with the daily bombardment of communications from all angles?

I think that setting up parameters for yourself in regards to time spent plugged in can help keep you grounded and sane. It’s similar to the skill of saying no. In the same way you need to take care of yourself first by not overextending yourself for others, you also must be able to turn off the phone, guilt-free.

What’s more, we need to stay present and engaged in the moment in order to live fully. Phones and Facebook take us out of our present moment, and too much time online can negatively distort your perception of yourself as well as take away from the amazing world right in front of you.

What do you think? What have been your ways of managing the barrage of online information?

 

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