Does this iPad make me look (virtually) fat?

by Bill Aiken

Daniel Sieberg speaks at the Religion Communicators Council national convention. Photo by Jay Rollins.

INDIANAPOLIS, April 6, 2013 — Have you checked your VWI (Virtual Weight Index) lately? Are carrying around those extra logins, passwords and Facebook updates weighing you down? Do you find yourself texting your dinner partner at the table instead of looking in their eyes and having a real conversation? Do you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or Nomobphobia (fear of being without your mobile phone)? If so, then it might be time for your digital diet.

In an engaging talk at the RCC's convention in Indianapolis this morning, Emmy-nominated journalist, tech expert and author of the Digital Diet: A Four-Step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life, Daniel Sieberg spoke of the need to rebalance our relationship with digital media so that it will play a constructive role in our lives.

The four pillars of his book involve:

  • Re-think: Understand that you maybe you have a problem if you find that you have become more engaged in your virtual world than in the real one around you.
  • Re-boot: Remember that your device has an off switch. Just as turning a device off then on again solves many operating problems, going without your device for a day or two can you improve your operating ability. Reevaluate where you want technology to exist in your life. Understand better the tug of technology for you. Close accounts that aren't important to you.
  • Re-connect: Learn to connect in a healthier way with your devices; be sure to connect with the people around you.
  • Re-vitalize: refresh yourself both physically (rubber band stretches for thumb-typing fingers), and mentally (force yourself to limit your time online – actually there's an app for that).

In the end the goal of the digital diet is a lot like our relationship with food – Love your technology, just not unconditionally.

William Aiken is Director of Public Affairs, Soka Gakkai International-USA, Washington DC Buddhist Culture Center. He is a member of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council and serves on the national RCC Board of Governors..

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