Disconnect to reconnect: The food/technology metaphor in digital detoxing

Theodora Sutton


The idea of “going on a digital detox” arrives as a response to a proliferation of digital technology and a concern that this addictive form of sociality erodes meaningful or authentic connection. This paper explores concerns about our relationship with digital technology through a short ethnography of Camp Grounded: a Californian digital detox retreat and summer camp for adults. At Camp Grounded, digital detoxers conceptualise consumption of technology using a food parallel. While the brief connection or “snack” of a text message might temporarily satisfy, detoxers feel that waiting for a more nutritious face-to-face encounter will ultimately be more emotionally nourishing. This paper interrogates the food/technology metaphor to unpack its analytical limitations and the questions it prompts about the future of our relationship with digital technology.


digital detox; internet addiction; non-use; digital mindfulness;

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i6.7561

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