In the Disconnect Me review, a man embarks on a personal challenge to go through digital cold turkey. He documents his journey and experiences with disconnecting from technology.

Estimated read time 2 min read


Filmmaker Alex Lykos is embarking on a 30-day digital detox for his documentary, which falls under the low-budget category of personal challenge films. Similar films in this genre include Super Size Me (where a man consumes large amounts of fast food) and America Unchained (where a man attempts to travel across America without supporting any multinational companies).

Lykos kicks off his offline journey with an entertaining overview of the evolution of the mobile phone, beginning with a bulky 1973 model that outweighs a four-pint milk carton. (This is demonstrated by Lykos holding up a milk carton to his ear while walking.) The film shines in these more lighthearted moments, where Lykos showcases his energetic and enthusiastic high school science teacher persona. These informative quizzes are sprinkled with interesting facts about smartphone usage – for instance, there are currently eight billion smartphones worldwide, the average person touches their phone 2,600 times a day, and Lykos himself spends an average of six hours daily on his device.

The film becomes more complicated when it delves into challenging subject matter, as a more thorough approach to sourcing, crediting, and providing citations for the statistics mentioned would assist in distinguishing fact from conjecture. The film implies that increased screen time in toddlers leads to negative outcomes in later childhood, but there is no information on how the studies were conducted; the methodology is crucial due to the potential for social biases. Is screen time truly detrimental to children’s brain development? Or could it be that parents who rely on iPads for their children’s entertainment are dealing with other difficulties, compared to parents who engage in reading and interactive activities with their children? Is this a direct result of causality or is it influenced by broader social circumstances?

It would be beneficial to have this information, but it is not possible to deduce it from watching this movie. However, it is generally agreed upon that reducing reliance on smartphones would be advantageous, and in this regard, Lykos presents a friendly and individual exploration of various concerns related to smartphone usage, such as self-esteem and attention span. However, his reserved nature ultimately hinders the impact of the film; for instance, he mentions that not having his phone has caused tension in his marriage, but this is not shown in much detail. Including more of these personal experiences would have made the film more compelling.


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