The Condescending Tone of Detox:

What I find most frustrating about these digital detox articles is their condescending tone. Every piece has the tone of an abusive partner trying to manipulate while sounding perfectly reasonable.

They start off with some variation of a teardown: “You aren't sleeping well, you're sad all the time, you can't focus, you don't know who your actual friends are, you don't go outside.”

Then they give you options, with small digs for how difficult they'll be: “Just take a walk around the park, a single walk, and don't instagram the leaves you find. Or go to sleep without your phone on your face, the tweets will still be there in the morning! I don't know, try eye contact?!”

Then they end with an assurance that you can come back: “It will be hard, and you'll feel like you're missing out, but it'll be good. And hey, you can always post about how great the detox was ;) ”

Digital Detox guides are focused on how gross you are now, and what you need to do to temporarily fix this. They never talk about how a few corporations now represent the entire internet, and these companies have turned the internet into a toxin. The underlying message with digital detox is that these companies are inevitable, as is the pain of being online, and it is up to you to learn how to deal.

Digital Detox as a concept is common enough to be cliche, with the side effect being that whenever you critique the web, your friends assume you're about to go on some prairie home companion style detox rant: “WHY DON'T PEOPLE TALK TO EACH OTHER ON THE BUS ANYMORE? What happened to DINNER CONVERSATIONS? Kids don't hug anymore because they've replaced hugs with tweets! I don't have a smart phone, I have a SKIPPING STONE that I picked up from the river (ever heard of that?), and I'm soooooooooo happy now.”

Of course no one wants to listen to that, cos that shit's annoying.

Our discussion about the internet has become a binary: you can either reject the online world, or you can cynically embrace it. We cannot comprehend a third way.