“With behavioral addictions, the internet’s “Triple-A Engine” of accessibility, affordability and anonymity is a driving force,” wrote Robert Weiss in a recent column for the Huffington Post. His conclusion:
So perhaps it is not surprising that as digital technology has advanced, bringing with it affordable, easy, relatively anonymous links to intensely pleasurable content and activity, addiction and mental health professionals are seeing a corresponding increase in the number of people struggling with tech-driven behavioral addictions.
Of course, most people avoid becoming real technology addicts to the point of needing professional help. But as technology plays an increasingly integrated role in our lives, it’s easy to go overboard. When is the last time you disconnected? Now, programs are sprouting up to help people do just that.
Digital Detox is, perhaps, the best-known organization for helping tech lovers relax and reboot. Out of California, it is “dedicated to creating a balance in the digital age.” Digital Detox runs a number of events throughout the year, from weekend-long retreats to shorter social events, workshops and gatherings. It also runs Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults. And across all of its events, one rule prevails: no devices allowed.
Vignesh Ramachandran reflected on his experience at the camp in a piece for Mashable last year:
Since we couldn’t hide behind our modern-day veils of smartphones, tablets or laptop computers, we turned to something that’s innately human: verbal conversation. I’ll never forget one camper who mentioned that she was grateful for conversations at camp that lasted longer than just a click. No 140-character tweets to send your new buddy. No immediate Facebook friend requests to try to get to know the likes and dislikes of your newfound friends. Instead, we engaged in real conversations, eye-to-eye. And because there was no “W” (work talk) allowed, we dug deeper, beyond the surface level of faux conversation you usually hear at networking events.
In other words, Camp Grounded is a little like a real version of this:
And now, it looks like the digital detox movement is spreading south of the border. In April, the inaugural #DetoxTec event will take place in Jalcomulco, Mexico.
Organized by Ronin Public Relations, #DetoxTec is among the first programs in Latin America to help tech lovers disconnect. Its first weekend-long gathering will take place from the 25th to the 27th of April, activities including river rafting, rappelling and campfires. And, of course, everything will be technology-free. You can pick up tickets here.
As smartphone penetration rates rise in Latin America and more of the population gets connected, the question of technology addiction will become increasingly pressing. And as such, we can expect more events like #DetoxTec and Camp Grounded to pop up.