Tanya is a trailblazing author, pioneering thinker and campaigner on digital wellbeing and tech ethics, and founder of the digital detox movement Time to Log Off.
“The pandemic’s wake-up call is that it has given us a glimpse of a future lived almost entirely through screens, isolated from those we love, growing lonelier and more disconnected day by day. We must urgently reset our relationship with tech.”
During the pandemic, Tanya has delivered all of her usual digital detox and digital wellbeing talks onscreen via Zoom or Teams or other video-conferencing software. In that way she has been able to continue as a speaker for schools, motivational speaker in the workplace and as a digital detox speaker at public virtual events.
Although it seemed counter-intuitive to begin with (to deliver talks about getting a better balance with screens, via a screen), it soon became clear that the need and demand had never been higher to hear the message that Tanya delivers. Shut up at home, relying heavily on the digital world to keep connected to workplaces, schools, and friends and family, more than ever before everyone wanted to know how they could get a better balance with their devices and set sensible and workable boundaries for their use.
Tanya particularly enjoyed being a webinar speaker to children learning virtually, and finding ways to make the talks as interactive as possible. This often involved getting students (and their teachers) to look away from the screen at regular intervals carrying out eye exercises, while she carried on talking. There were also virtual ‘treasure hunts’ where she asked children to find, and show, objects around their homes which represented off-screen activities they still enjoyed doing while closeted at home. Corporate talks became even more innovative. Some involved sending a parcel of ‘mystery objects’ to participants in advance, avoiding the need to stare at slides after a day on screen, and presenting the opportunity to unwrap and hold something tangible while Tanya talked about its connection to digital wellbeing and tech-life balance.
The opportunity that the pandemic presented, to find a different way of delivering the digital wellbeing message, and to do that coherently on a screen, has been a very satisfying and enjoyable challenge. Tanya will be carrying on fulfilling a limited number of virtual speaking engagements as a webinar speaker on digital detox after pandemic restrictions have been lifted, when geographic or other constraints mean that virtual delivery is the best medium. However, her preference undeniably remains delivering talks in person for the experience that creates for everyone in the room, which is hard to replicate on a screen.
“Tanya gave a superb talk on “digital detoxing” to our virtual partners’ conference a few days ago. The audience is traditionally a sceptical one, to put it mildly. Tanya was excellent. Her delivery was calm, measured and well judged and her content first class.
The talk at our virtual networking after the conference was of little else. We have all been doing our best to bear Tanya’s advice in mind and to put some of her tips into practice – with, inevitably, varying degrees of success. It can sometimes be a little too glib to give a glowing online recommendation, but I would thoroughly recommend Tanya. Her presentation was thoughtful, practical, well crafted and intelligently made.”
Deputy Senior Partner, Russell-Cooke Solicitors