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food / travel

Digital Detox: How To Get Offline, Ideas From Around The World

Time to turn it off
Time to turn it off
Giacomo Tognini

In our increasingly digital world, people often feel the need to disconnect from the Internet for a dose of silence and breath of fresh air. Worldcrunch has reported recent stories from Brazil to California, about the hunt for "digital detox" solutions. With the help of the Internet (!), we've tracked down five other examples of people pushing ways to get offline in a flash.


German advertising magazine Horizont writes that telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom is urging customers to detox this holiday season, launching an advertising campaign that portrays a family having Christmas dinner without any technology. The advert shows a fictional family sitting down to have dinner together, after everyone has hidden or shut off their cell phone, tablet, or television.

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Deutsche Telekom management has also been pushing employees to limit their online activity, decided to stop sending emails during evenings, holidays and weekends so that employees can detox when they are not at work.


According to Geneva-based daily Le Temps, residents of the Swiss city seeking digital detox attended a "detox brunch" organized by a local association on Nov. 29. Hosted by a French restaurant with no WiFi connection, the event featured live music, a nursery for children and even a guarded cloakroom where visitors were encouraged to leave their cellphones and other devices.

If attendees took out their devices, others playfully called them out for being "addicts" and straying from the brunch rules. The organization behind the event, Made with Love, chose the concept of a "digital detox" brunch with the objective of bringing people closer together, away from the distractions of technology.


If you're looking for a radical yet foolproof way to cut your Internet use, then Belarus-born American technology writer Evgeny Morozov may have the answer. Morozov is a renowned lecturer and writer on the dangers of modern technology, holding positions at Stanford and Georgetown universities in the past. The Guardian writes that to spend more time reading and writing, he bought a laptop with an easily removable WiFi card so that he can't surf the web outside his home.

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Morozov safely off-line in 2014 — Photo: Chatham House

But Morozov doesn't stop there. Because he has a cable connection at home, he also purchased a safe and a combination lock with a timer, so he can lock away his router and phone for as long as he wants. Morozov also suggests hiding any screwdrivers in the safe — lest you get impatient and unscrew the panel before the time is up.


It might seem counterproductive to have to download an app in order to cut yourself off from the Internet, but the Durham, North Carolina startup Freedom proves otherwise. According to the Raleigh-based News & Observer, the app — available for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS — allows users to block specific websites or cut off access to the Internet altogether. A free version is limited to one device and only five websites, but Freedom offers more expensive packages that allow unlimited blocking.

Several other competitors provide similar services to Freedom, but technology news site Techcrunch reports that a new iPhone app called Moment helps users track their smartphone to better limit it in the future. When downloaded, Moment asks for limits on the usage of certain apps and then disappears, only notifying you in the future if you exceed your daily limits of smartphone usage.


The Dolomite mountains in northern Italy have long been a favorite destination for tourists in need of fresh mountain air and a retreat from busy city life. Italian daily La Stampa reports that the Mis Valley, a gateway to the Dolomites in the northeastern Veneto region, is being marketed as a "digital detox" travel destination for its spectacular lakes, waterfalls and mountains.

The local chamber of commerce is promoting several "digital detox walks" for tourists who want to cut themselves off from the Internet and hike among the valley's peaks and canyons. Despite being close to the provincial center of Belluno, the valley is almost entirely uninhabited, creating a perfect atmosphere for anyone wishing to rid themselves of electronic distractions.

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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