Digital Content Editor | Culture Writer
@emma_ullah // www.emmaullah.com
Vanessa Tran relieves our minds from toxic tech with Ditox
Vanessa Tran, Ditox
Vanessa Tran is a social media marketer at Pearson Australia, a learning company for primary, secondary, higher and clinical education. Tran is a driven, tech-savvy young woman who knows how to navigate her way around the online sphere and copious digital networks. But, despite being armed with knowledge on all things social, Tran knows that as humans there really is such thing as TMI (too much information).
So, before we frazzle and fry our brains to mindless scrolling on social media, let's try hitting up Google for Tran's new founded venture: Ditox.
What's the big idea?
Ditoxis short for digital detox and we're the first digital health company promoting the smarter use of technology in a world where we are heavily reliant on the media.
We run events and workshops that reveal the impact of technology on mental health, introducing strategies so people can change their habits and reconnect in a more meaningful way. It's an idea that came about from my own lived experience.
So, you're addicted to digital?
Not quite, but I used to live an unhealthy and unbalanced life with technology. Being a digital marketer I rely on social media day today. I used to chase the number of Instagram and Facebook likes and compare myself to other people. I've also been a victim of cat fishing.
In the end, I really wanted to change my own habits and also others around me – I know so many people who are addicted to an online presence but don't know how to get help.
According to the social media comparison theory we compare ourselves to others online, which contributes to our low self-esteem or narcissism. I realised there was a problem around social media addiction a.k.a scrolling when constantly faced with 'digital zombies'. For example, people crossing the roads while looking at their phone, couples sitting at restaurants on their phones instead of talking to each other.
One strategy to tackle this is dedicating a certain time during the day to scrolling down social feeds, noting which posts make you happy compared to those that don't. I'd also encourage people to delete accounts that are not giving you any value in your life. It's like having a toxic friend - they need to go!
Connecting online vs. offline. No difference eh?
There's a huge difference. With online, it's easier to be whoever you want to be: filtering, resizing, reshaping and manipulating. You can brand yourself online.
It's also easier to get validation through vanity metrics such as likes, comments and love hearts. But in the offline world - the real world, it's harder work when giving consistent feedback. We change our personality both online and offline to get the validation that we want. I want people to re-connect in a more meaningful way.
So, what is meaningful re-connection?
For me, meaningful reconnection means being conscious, mindful, present and finding something that makes you happy without the instant gratification from a phone.
Our lives are immensely consumed by content and messages on a daily basis. Scrolling mindlessly on your phone is a waste of time. I want to give people a better option on how to live a happier, healthier and more productive life. We need to filter the valuable information from the fad. Learn how to be alone. And, be aware of our surroundings.
1 in 10 Australians say that keeping up with social media is a source of stress. Why?
FOMO (fear of missing out) and sleep deprivation. If people feel like they are not at an event or not in the know they can become stressed and anxious - it's that feeling of belonging in society.
I remember being in the car with some girlfriends and we were constantly scrolling through Instagram, all keeping very quiet until we each got really exhausted. It didn't feel good. Most people check their phones before bedtime too, which affects sleep and induces stress.
So, how can we balance tech intake better?
My philosophy around Ditox is not to switch off completely but be more aware of your tech activity. For example, I would encourage people to think twice about whether they really need to check their phone every 5 minutes, and try not to scroll mindlessly.
I would also encourage people to set limits when checking their social media; for example, scroll only to see 10 posts at each time. I notice people on the train who have their phone in their pocket and will constantly take it out every minute. We need to understand that technology isn't for instant gratification or validation.
You can join the movement online and attend our future Ditox events. We have our first ever launch in few days at Rina's Cucina; a traditional Italian eatery, serving home-style comforts in a cosy, authentic setting. It's all about re-connecting over good food and wine – not about the gram!