Promoting digital detox

Dr. Sylvia Frejd says it is time to take a break from technology overload

In today’s world, people are constantly surrounded by screens. Whether that be their iPhones, laptops, tablets or televisions, escaping technology is difficult.

unplug — Students were challenged to take a break from their constant use of technology and focus on human interaction instead. Photo credit: Leah Seavers

Unplug — Students were challenged to take a break from their constant use of technology and focus on human interaction instead. Photo credit: Leah Seavers

Liberty University has taken note of students, faculty and staff being overstimulated by technology. The Center for Digital Wellness was established in September 2014 to help the members of campus be more engaged in their own lives.

“As I ride the bus around on campus and walk the hallways, I see many students looking down at their phones,” Dr. Sylvia Frejd, executive director of the Center for Digital Wellness, said. “I also observe people at lunch with friends yet constantly looking down at their phones so as not to miss out on anything. … In our digital world, it is so easy to be where we are and be somewhere else as well.”

According to Frejd, students struggle with being able to put their cell phones down and engage with life around them. The Center for Digital Wellness encourages students to put down their technology and interact with others.

“The goal is that we all would practice digital wellness by managing our time spent looking down at screens and be intentional to look up and thrive in our real lives and relationships,” Frejd said.

Frejd said the Center for Digital Wellness offers many programs for students to digitally detox. Some of the programs include giving guest lectures in classes, offering workshops on digital wellness, Digital Detox Retreats and mentoring/coaching.

According to Frejd, the Center for Digital Wellness is also trying to raise awareness through the #LOOKUP campaign. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to help students move away from technology so they may be able to hear God’s voice and live out their calling.

The Center for Digital Wellness also promoted participation in the National Day of Unplugging, which was March 4-5.

“(We) encouraged all faculty, staff and students to take the pledge and participate in the National Day of Unplugging from their technology and to use the time to plug into their real life and relationships,” Frejd said.

The National Day of Unplugging is a project by Reboot. Dina Mann, national marketing and outreach manager for Reboot, said the purpose of this yearly event is to motivate people to reconnect with reality instead of being inside a screen.

“What we hope is that by taking the time to pause and reflect on their use of digital devices such as phones and computers, people will be more aware of the impact,” Mann said. “We hope that from that newfound awareness, people will try to put their digital devices aside more regularly, for however long it takes to recharge themselves and to reconnect with those around them.”

This event was established in 2010. Mann said Reboot noticed society was tired and needed a rest from technology.

While the National Day of Unplugging has already taken place for this year, Mann shared that unplugging from technology should be a done on a regular basis.

“I unplug weekly,” Mann said. “It is a way for me to set balance in my life and recharge, reflect and connect with people and things I love.”

Frejd said students can put their phones face down during conversations, keep their phones in the backseat while driving, and put their phones in the middle of the table while eating. It is ultimately about setting boundaries.

“They can start by taking a day to unplug and assess how their technology use is impacting their life and relationships, then establish some healthy digital boundaries for themselves,” Frejd said.

To get more information about unplugging, visit the Center for Digital Wellness in Green Hall 1845 or email

Frost is a news reporter.

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