Middleagedmum.com: Digital Detox

Digital Detox

I blame Brexit – for everything tbh, but that’s another story – as the last few weeks my social media intake has reached another level. It’s not just me, as everyone I speak to says the same – Facebook became our saviour (everyone thinks the same, how can this have happened?) our constant news feed (sadly checking it every 10 minutes didn’t change the result) and our outlet (although I stayed away from venting my anger, disappointment and utter shock).

Instagram has been a welcome visual respite from the news and as for Snapchat -well thats just a fun filled stream of food, silly pics of friends and roof top parties in Bushwick!

I had fallen slightly out of love with Twitter recently, but I tuned back in for an ongoing stream of commentary on all the horrible news  – contrasted with what’s happening with Love Island and George Lineker (what do you mean you don’t follow him – he’s hilarious!).

But enough is enough and over this last week, the ongoing bad news coupled with the extreme heat has made me realise I need a digital detox. I haven’t read an actual book all year and anyone who knows me IRL will realise this is a big thing, as I love reading. I still buy books, I just never get round to reading them, as there always seems to be something more interesting to read online. Of course reading online is still reading (as pointed out by the wonderful Diana Athill at an event I attended last year) it’s just reading in a different format. But reading digitally isn’t just about reading one thing – as we flit between FB, Twitter and our favourite websites – and I wonder if its taking away our ability to focus.

I have been fascinated to watch the recent tv programmes on C4 devoted to paring back our lives and getting back to what matters. Life Stripped Bare explores what happens when three young households have all of their things stripped away for 21 days, while Eden follows 23 strangers who are abandoned in a remote Scottish location and asked to create new society using only what they can farm and build.

As I get older I find the idea of giving up technology, getting back to nature and making things from scratch more and more appealing. I’ve been talking a lot lately about the idea of ‘peak stuff’ as we all realise we have enough of absolutely everything. But maybe we have also reached ‘peak information’ and ‘peak online engagement’.

So as Amanda and I prepare to take month off from blogging (yes a whole month – we are dear readers – knackered!) I plan to downsize my stuff and get back to living my life in real time – and possibly even reading a few of those books!

See you in September.

Jane x


  • sarah says:

    We will miss you. Enjoy your break.

  • Martha Bilski says:

    Sounds like bliss!

  • Jan says:

    Sorry to sound a note of dissent here but I take huge exception to anyone who uses the term ‘everyone’ as in, “it’s not just me, as everyone I speak to says the same – Facebook became our saviour” – when actually they mean some people. It could be loads of people but it sure isn’t everyone regards Facebook as their saviour at any time.

    If Facebook truly is your saviour may I recommend including E.M Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’ in your holiday reading. If you do get back to reading of course!

  • Ellen says:

    I agree with getting back to a simpler life. Before computers I read more books – my drug of choice, sewed, knit, did artwork. Too much of my time is sucked away checking emails and endless reading of things online. I love this blog so much, it is not included in that list. It is pure pleasure. Come back rested and recuperated.

  • Sue Logan says:

    I would endorse Jan’s recommendation of EM Forster’s “The Machine Stops” for anyone who has become addicted to online media. Astonishingly it was written in 1909. It won’t take too much time to read as it’s defined as a short story and you can download a PDF version for free so you won’t even need to open a REAL book

  • anna says:

    So sad to hear folks bemoaning not having time to read, sew, knit etc. and blaming it on the internet. The internet is a tool to be used; sounds as if it is using you if it dictates how you use your time. We each have the same amount of time each day, 24 hours. It’s your decision how you use that time, and in particular, how you use your time outside of your work allocation. If you find reading online material is what you would rather do that’s fine because it’s YOUR choice. What’s not fine is moaning about it and blaming it on the internet when actually the responsibility lies with each of us as individuals.

  • Jane says:

    Jan, I was being slightly ironic with the use of “everyone”. Of course it isn’t everyone, but social media can often make you feel like everyone feels the same way – just by the nature of like minded people popping up your feed.

  • Jane says:

    I love opening real books and will certainly check this out Sue


    J Xx

  • Jane says:

    I agree Anna, I think the nature of our jobs (amanda and I – not everyone) means that we are online for work and the lines between work and leisure time blur, making it hard to switch off sometimes. But we are going o try

    J x

  • Becky says:

    You need to move down here to the bottom of the world. The technology obsession has not quite reached fever pitch in New Zealand and we spend much time doing all that traditional stuff – well not all of us, but the people I know anyway !! I am very happy to be away from that total immersion experience of much of the rest of the world, technology is lovely, in small doses but I find it hard to stay interested in it for more than an hour or so at a time ! Come visit us and we can spin a hank of yarn and go for a bush walk !!!!

  • sue evans says:

    I am with you on this one Jane. I have rediscovered the joys of reading ( not that I ever lost my love, just work and being online for the day job got in the way) since moving to France and a more laid-back lifestyle. I really do think it’s time we all ( not everyone!) got back to a simpler less frenetic way of living. Do we really need the constant chatter of Twitter / keeping up with Instagram / daily drip feeds of the minutia of people’s lives ? I don’t and never have subscribed to any of it apart from keeping up with old friends on FB. It’s all creating too much noise. And I agree with Becky, NZ’ers seem to have technology in proportion. Silence, a book and looking round you instead of at a screen are so much more fulfilling. Gives you space to dream !
    Happy holidays — and get reading !!

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