Friday, 2 December 2016

Digital Detox with Time to Log Off and Punkt

White Punkt mobile phone with title textMobile phones and electronic devices have become a way of life for many people and are so embedded in most of our lives that we are barely aware we are even using them at all. Is this having a detrimental effect on family life, though, and are we losing out as a result? Last weekend I took part in a collaboration with Time to Log Off and Punkt, to investigate this very question. The idea of the project was to encourage families to put down their devices and spend more time taking part in activities together over Christmas. In order to prepare for this festive foray into unfettered family life, we were sent a special phone from Punkt, which looked like a really modern, funky version of what was common place for anyone who remembers the 90s. Yes, young people, there was actually a time before every meal was instagrammed and Facebook always knew where you were.

The brief we were given was that we were to turn off all our internet-connected devices for 48 hours, from midnight on 25th of November. This would allow us to spend more time with our families, and allow us to get a bit more practice in for going device-free over Christmas. I did hit one or two little snags to begin with, the biggest one being that I hadn't realised, when I agreed to the task, that the 25th of November was a Friday, a work day for me. As I'm self employed, I couldn't not work, so I did use my laptop for writing and photo-editing purposes, but this did not require social media, so I don't feel that I broke the rules. If I had an outside job, I would have used a computer, so it's no different. Which leads to my second little issue, which is that everyone was at work or school, so I couldn't use the time to interact with anyone, as I was the only one in the house! I did get a bit more work done than I probably would have otherwise, without the distraction of social media, so it still proves that it can distract from what you ought to be doing! I am a champion procrastinator, so I can see an advantage to having the temptation of social media removed.

Your Presence is the Present graphic

The phone we were sent, was a Punkt MP01 which, as I said before, is very modern and contemporary to look at, but does nothing, other than the essentials of making calls and texting. I can see advantages to a phone like this, particularly if you have a stressful job and need to switch off from having access to your emails and other work-related media. Personally, I felt it would have been nice to have a camera on it. I went to Bath Christmas Market on the Saturday, and had to take a separate device to take photos, which was fine, because I knew about it, but I do think, if I was out with the family, on a day-to-day basis I would miss the spontaneity of having a camera on my phone. I thought of lots of other uses for it though. Without all the internet paraphernalia, it's very simple to use, so would be perfect for an elderly person, or a pre-teen child if they need to be contactable for some reason. I also think phones like this should be encouraged for use in secondary schools, to keep children safe, whilst also protecting against cyber-bullying and other online threats. 

White Punkt Mobile PhoneAs a blogger, I use social media a lot, but, sometimes, I really enjoy taking my children places and NOT blogging about it. This is where a phone like this would be useful, because you can use your normal sim card in it, so you take it with you instead of your usual phone and you are then unable to access social media. It's surprising how many times I reach for my phone without even thinking, so this would put a stop to that. As a trial run, the exercise went pretty well. There were some aspects that didn't compare too well to Christmas; such as the working day and the fact that I was the only one not using my devices, so it got a bit lonely at times, but it has shown me that there is always room for improvement in our device-usage and I'm sure, if we were all device free when Christmas comes, it would be a very different experience for all of us. I think it would be really interesting to go the whole hog and have a throwback Christmas, like the ones when I was young, where you couldn't contact any of your friends without speaking to their dad first and the only instant photos were from a Polaroid film camera! Those were the days!

Produced in association with Punkt and Time to Log Off

1 comment

  1. You know what, those Instamatic cameras are making a comeback, my teenage daughter has asked for one for Christmas, as apparently 'every one else has got one' (some things definitely don't change)!!!
    I think that phone sounds perfect for my septuagenarian (is that a word??!) mother who only wants one to phone people (although she is rather keen on the vibrate option for texts) and who thinks a smart phone is one that also takes photos.
    I also worry about my daughter taking a nice phone to school but apparently everyone has one so no-one is going to try and steal it.
    I too am on my own a lot, so like listening to the radio, having social media means I don't feel like it but my family do spend too much time on our devices on the Internet.


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