Internet Blackout: An evening with no phones.

internet blackoutTechnology, smartphones, the internet and social media are now such a huge part of our lives that it’s so easy to get engrossed and forget to look up from your screen.  If you’re like me and get the feeling of ‘losing your right arm’ when you accidentally leave your phone at home (extreme) then you may be more addicted to your phone and social media than you think and it might be time to try an ‘internet blackout!’

Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to put down my phone and appreciate the world around me.  I love spending time with my friends and family but I got to the point where I was constantly checking my phone and missing actual human interaction.  The amount of times The Northerner would try to have a conversation with me and I’d miss a key point because I was too busy on Instagram… Dropped some major girlfriend points there!  But it’s not just me, he’s just as bad and we’ve both decided to make a change.

In a bid to claim back some social interaction we decided to allocated at least one night a week where we don’t touch our phones or laptops.  No social media, no whatsapp and no game apps!  We also don’t watch any live TV… so not sports updates for boyfriend.  All that’s allowed are movies, TV Boxsets and conversation between ourselves.  We call it ‘blackout’ night.  And we get quite excited about it.

The Blackout…

It was hard at first.  In fact I’d say we failed for about four weeks straight (how sad is that really?) but finally we got there and all I can say, is that, I wish we did it more often.  Our blackout night reminded me of when we first started dating, where we’d talk for hours, learning about each other and giving each other nothing but undivided attention.  It felt lovely (once the initial ‘FOMO’ had passed) to not be constantly checking my phone.

We watch movies or TV boxsets, we cook together and even do simple things like putting our washing away.  But we do it together. We drink wine and tell each other stories, we go to the cinema then walk home discussing the film and sharing our opinions.

I don’t think you need to be part of a couple to partake in a technology blackout.  Sometimes when Adam is out for the evening I indulge in a bit of ‘solo blackout-ing’ time that doesn’t involve the internet and social media.  It’s peaceful and the perfect catharsis in my busy life.  It can be something as simple as taking a bath, reading a book, doing some colouring in and even clearing out your wardrobe – providing you don’t find it stressful.  Something that is going to help you switch off from the world around you and allow you time to reflect and learn.  In fact, sometimes I prefer to do the blackout alone as it allows me to develop and prepare for the days ahead.  I love creating a good ‘To Do’ list!

Blackout really is the perfect way to reset.  I always feel much more relaxed and less stressed after a few hours away from technology.

All I’m going to say is, roll on my eight hour flight to America.  I really appreciate being on a plane sometimes because you’re forced to step away from the internet.  I’m certainly not the person who will be trying wifi on planes (well not for longer than the first half an hour which is free of course!)

So I challenge all my readers to attempt an ‘internet blackout’ even if for just a couple of hours.  It really can feel quite liberating and rather funnily, allows me to get more done when technology comes back into my life.  Have you ever tried cutting the internet out of your life for a few hours?

Photo: Sophie Neal