Could you survive a social media detox?

Katie Holmes, Suri Cruise, smart phones, technology, social media, social media detox

This photo of Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise on their mobile phones caused a minor stir last week. No, not because Suri is wearing next season’s hottest colour, as seen on the S/S13 Stella McCartney catwalks*.  As they sit in New York’s Battery Park, Katie is engrossed in her iPhone while six-year-old Suri chats away on a BlackBerry. Lots of people were shocked by the image, but like it or not, we’re all plugged in to technology, making plans, working and socialising on our smart phones.

From as young as five months old, my daughter was playing with iPhone apps and now at 25 months old, she asks for the iPad each morning (while her parents are still bleary eyed and waking up), switches it on, unlocks it by swiping the panel, finds the BBC iPlayer app, and chooses from her favourite programmes (Tilly And Friends is a current top choice). What I’ve just describes fills me equally with pride and horror. Pride that she is intelligent and has learned how to navigate the device. Horror because we really don’t have any clue how this generation of kids will be affected by such immersion in tech, at such a young age. I’m hoping they’ll all go onto ace their exams and get a tech-driven job that hasn’t even been invented yet. In America, the Department of Labor reckons 65% of children will do exactly this, as this geeky infographic spotted on Living With Kids, shows.

The future, jobs that don't exist yet, Living With Kids, Anita Naik


I personally spend way (way) too much time using my iPhone. On an average day, I switch it on within ten minutes of waking up and before I even get out of bed, I’ll have checked (in this order) my emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On my train journey to work, I switch between those four apps and sometimes draft a blog on my WordPress app. On car journeys I compile a grocery shop on my Tesco app (when I’m the passenger obvs, I’m not veering into parked cars while I pop a pack of Babybels in my basket). While watching The X Factor or The Great British Bake Off, I’m glued to Twitter, keeping track of the social conversation. It’s got to the point where I have to actively put my phone out of reach when I’m watching a movie, otherwise I’ll lose track of what the heck is happening in the plot. This very thing happened two nights ago:

Twitter, social media detox

In this week’s issue of LOOK magazine, Cherry Healey is challenged to give up all social media for a weekend – the feature idea was concocted after many a discussion in the office talking about our dependence on social media. And while I don’t think I need to do anything that extreme (just the thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat – hang on, have I just proved that it is needed? Pretend I didn’t say that), I do want to change my habits and have a healthier balance between living real life and being involved in other people’s virtual lives.

My 5 step plan to creating a better balance

  1. When the toddler asks for “iPad! iPad!” in the morning, I’m going to say “Let’s read a book!” despite having to prise open my eyes at the time. (Luckily she loves books – I’m telling you this so you don’t think I’m the worst parent ever. But she does. Really.)
  2. On train journeys to and from work, I will keep my iPhone in my bag and I will read a book. I’m going to start with Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman, which I got for Christmas and haven’t yet read.
  3. In the evenings, I’ll keep my phone in a different room, rather than have it by my side, with my fingers constantly twitching in its direction.
  4. When I’m watching TV, I’m going to watch it, rather than half-watch it, while I half-tweet at the same time.
  5. When I’m in a restaurant with friends, I won’t Instagram my food before I eat it. (Yep, I’m that person.)

Wish me luck.


*I may have made this up. I wasn’t at Stella’s Paris runway show but I’m pretty sure hot pink didn’t feature.

Image of Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise from MailOnline.



  1. October 21, 2012 / 9:30 pm

    It’s very scary! I recently did an internet free weekend for Heart and had to talk about it on the radio on the Monday. It was bad enough not being able to check emails, but I couldn’t even Google stuff or use Twitter. I was a wreck! I think we’re more and more reliant on social media nowadays – especially if you work in the media. I check my emails within 1 minute of waking up, then scroll across Facebook and Twitter. For me, it’s a work thing – I NEED to know what’s going on as soon as I open my eyes. But I do love those rare occasions (mainly weekends) when I can turn the phone off and shut the noise out for a while. Faebook and

  2. Lady Chappers
    October 21, 2012 / 10:06 pm

    My saving grace is having to get the tube to work. In no way do I support full WiFi on the tubes!!! … the amount of reading that I do would drop exponentially without a doubt!

    • notanothermummyblog
      November 8, 2012 / 6:38 am

      Now I have tube envy. That time to just switch off and read must be lovely.

  3. Pressies by Pebbles
    October 22, 2012 / 9:54 am

    Unfortunately too true.

    I have to consciously leave my iPhone in the other room after I’ve picked the children up from school/nursery in the afternoons so I concentrate on them and don’t keep checking social media – and sometimes i find it really hard!

    I actually really enjoy going on holiday abroad as I won’t spend the money to connect so I have a enforced detox and I don’t miss it at all 🙂

    • notanothermummyblog
      November 8, 2012 / 6:38 am

      Me too – holidays feel a bit liberating in that way, don’t they? (Which is daft but true!)

  4. November 1, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    I once read something somewhere about you have to be slightly addicted to social media to get the most out of it and I think this is probably very true! When everything is right there on your iPhone in your hand, it’s so hard to switch off and I am definitely guilty of this. Good luck with your detox 🙂

    • notanothermummyblog
      November 8, 2012 / 6:37 am

      Love this. I think you might be right.

  5. November 1, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    this is so true – the world is so addicted to fb / twitter etc (including me!). I have been thinking of updating my phone (I have an ancient one that only does texts and phonecalls – no camera, no internet – I know – shock horror – how do i survive!) But I end up 5 hours every evening on the laptop or ipad instead. I am trying to figure out if it would reduce my time if i had a phone that could keep up to date throughout the day or whether that would make my addiction worse! Decisions decisions?

    • notanothermummyblog
      November 8, 2012 / 6:36 am

      Wow… I kind of envy you having a basic phone!

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