• Nocatee family goes through a 'digital detox'

    By: Letisha Bereola , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Americans check their phone 9 billion times a day and that number is on a steady rise, according to a recent study.  And some experts say too much screen time, whether it be cellphone, TV or computers -- is transforming our behavior.

    Action News Jax Anchor Letisha Bereola shows you what happens when she puts a local family through a digital detox.

    It’s the all-consuming ring, the click of video game and the constant entertainment that’s zapping the one thing a Nocatee family wants the most. 

    Study: Association between social media use and depression among U.S. young adults

    “A connection,” Lisa Vernon said. 

    Vernon, her husband Brian, and three kids accepted the challenge to go on a digital detox. No screens for three days. She agreed, saying, it was time to do something drastic.

    “How could I be alone in a family of five? And I’m sure others feel the same way,” Vernon said. 

    She’s right. A recent study discovered the more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to feel socially isolated. And that could affect a person’s entire psychology.  

    Through an up-close and personal social experiment, Action News Jax found the opposite happened when this family took away those gadgets and screens. They were happy and more productive. 

    Elizabeth, 15, said this during her first official day of the detox:

    “I’ve had a really productive day, I’m actually really excited. I’m in the process of power-cleaning my room. I finished my homework,” she said. 

    A study from the group Common Sense says 50 percent of teens feel addicted to their phones. When that was taken away from Elizabeth, her dad saw a transformation. 

    “Well today, my teenager wanted to hang out with me. That never happens with teenagers, especially mine,” Brian Mullis said. 

    WATCH THE CONFESSIONAL INTERVIEWS FROM THE MULLIS AND VERNON FAMILY ON THE ACTION NEWS JAX ROKU, AMAZON AND APPLE APPS

    Day 2 was a little harder. 

    “I wish I had a dollar for every time they’ve asked to play Minecraft. I could probably go have a nice dinner, at the very least,” Mullis said. 

    Without a screen to turn to, his 10-year-old and 4-year-old kids figured out they could play … with each other.  

    The family went on their golf cart together, went fishing and built a bonfire. 

    “Madison kept talking about how nice it was. Sitting around the fire, wrapped up in blankets because it was kind of chilly,” Mullis said. 

    For three days, every minute counted for this family.   

    “You don't realize how much that eats up. It's just little bit by little bit by little bit,” Vernon said. 

    Vernon said in the past, taking away the technology that connects them with the world would have been felt like a punishment. After this experience, a daily digital detox left this family feeling more connected than ever. 

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