Digital Detox

Workshop Outline


On this page, you will find the following:

  • Description
  • Learning Goals
  • Workshop Outline
  • Further Reading and Resources


This workshop gives participants the opportunity to reflect on their values and priorities, and create a digital detox action plan to ensure that their technology use supports their goals.

  • Duration: 110 minutes
  • Ideal for 10-25 participants

Learning Goals

  • Reflect on values
  • Critically examine tech usage
  • Develop a custom digital detox action plan

Workshop Outline

Below is an overview of the workshop outline:

  • Opening
  • Warm Up: Temperature Check
  • Reflection: Our Current Tech Habits
  • Group Activity: What Matters Most
  • Activity: Design Your Detox Action Plan
  • Reflection: Takeaways
  • Closing


Time needed: 5 minutes+
Purpose: to welcome participants as well as setting expectations and goals.

  1. Introductions:
    • Introduce workshop title
    • Facilitator introduces themselves
  2. Explain the learning goals
  3. Review the ground rules


  • Develop collaborative ground rules along with participants if there is time.
  • Ask participants to go around and introduce themselves if there is time.

Warm Up: Temperature Check

Time needed: 10 minutes
Purpose: to engage participants and encourage them to begin speaking up and sharing their thoughts and concerns.

In this warm up, based on Spectogram you will read a statement and ask participants indicate how much they agree or disagree with it or how confident or insecure they feel.

Instructions if online:

  1. Participants will use their hands in the video to show their answer:
    • Fist: indicates very little or no confidence or disagreeing
    • Two fingers: indicates medium confidence
    • Open hand: indicates agreement or have the most confidence
  2. For each statement, select a person at various points of the spectrum to explain why they feel that way.

Variation: Participants can also type their answers in the chat, or using a virtual whiteboard can draw or mark their response that way.

Instructions if in-person:

  1. Participants will move their bodies to one end of the room or the other, depending on their answer along the spectrum. For example, the facilitator may indicate one wall is strongly agree, the opposite wall is strongly disagree, and then the middle is the full spectrum.
  2. For each statement, select a person at various points of the spectrum to explain why they feel that way.

Statements you can use (or come up with your own!):

  • Technology helps me to accomplish my goals.
  • I struggle to balance my time online with other activities.
  • My relationship with technology is balanced.


  • Describe what you observe out loud “I see most people have their fists showing, meaning there is little confidence in this statement”. This can be helpful for visually impaired participants, as well as in engaging the room.
  • Allow people to answer anywhere along the spectrum.
  • If you are online and there are people who prefer to remain off camera, that’s okay! Let’s respect their right to privacy (or internet connection issues). They can type their answers in the chat box.

Reflection: Our Current Tech Habits

Time needed: 15 minutes
Purpose: for participants to address the ways they may feel unbalanced with their technology usage.

  1. Put participants into groups of 2-3 people for 10 minutes. Keep these pairings noted so that you can make the exact same groups throughout this workshop (same groups mean they can build trust and open up more). Questions they discuss during their breakout session:
  • When do you use tech? (think about not only your computer, smartphone, but also your tv, smartwatch, and any other connected gadgets you may use)
  • In what ways do you feel unbalanced about your tech use?
  1. Once the time is up, spend a few minutes back in the plenary for groups to share if they feel comfortable.

Group Activity: What Matters Most

Time needed: 20+ minutes
Purpose: to give participants the opportunity to articulate their values and priorities. By hearing those of their group mates, they may also get encouragement and direction if they feel uninspired.

  1. Put participants back in the same teams for 15 minutes, and ask them to reflect on what is important to them with the following prompt:
  • Prompt: What matters most? In which ways is technology supporting or distracting you from your values and priorities? If it’s difficult to think about, imagine yourself stuck on a deserted island for years: what would you want most?
  1. Participants will make a list of these values and priorities—they can use keywords or emojis, and these lists can be private if they prefer, so there is no requirement to share.
  2. Back in the plenary, welcome individuals to share rather than whole groups (but only if they’re comfortable with it).


  • You as the facilitator are in a unique position to make the group feel safe and comfortable. If people do not want to speak up, do not coerce them. Remember that you've just asked them to reflect on deeply personal topics.
  • If anyone shares, encourage them to speak for themselves and not share the stories of others--in respecting the privacy of their group mates.

Activity: Design Your Detox Action Plan

Time needed: 30 minutes
Purpose: to help participants develop a realistic detox action plan which they could implement in their lives.

  1. In behaviorist BJ Fogg’s book, “Tiny Habits”, he made the point time and again that “people change best by feeling good”. If I want to break an old habit, don’t focus on the do nots—no screens before bed, don’t do this, don’t do that—focus on the DOs. Think of it this way, if I tell myself “no screens before bed”, I don’t know what I can actually do before bed. What happens when I break the rule? Am I setting myself up to feel bad or to easily fail?
  2. Participants will design their own action plan following this model:
    • First come up with pain points you want to change (e.g. stop being exposed to bad news on Reddit first thing in the morning).
    • Then use the “feel good” method to come up with activities you want to do instead (e.g. start my day out with calm and gentle stretching and breathing).
  3. Leave a space open for people to share their detox action plan if they feel comfortable to do so. Ask them if they are open to feedback, as perhaps there are steps they've come up with that still seem difficult to achieve, and with the support of the group they could further simplify.

Variation: participants can focus just on what they DO want to do more of in their life, and reflect on their habits to find ways to fit those activities in. Are there times they get sucked into autoplay or scrolling and lose too much time they’d like to get back? What habits can they change?

Tip: encourage participants to consider how a digital detox is not just about screen time. How else can they take control and find balance?

Reflection: Takeaways

Time needed: 10-15 minutes
Purpose: to get a sense of what your participants have learned.

  1. Ask participants to create a takeaway poster by sharing their answers to the following question in the shared whiteboard / drawing board: What are your main takeaways from today's workshop?
  2. Give participants a few minutes to write and/or draw their thoughts.
  3. Ask participants to share their posters, either by presenting or hanging them on the wall.
  4. Highlight some of the points brought up to the group.


Time needed: 5 minutes
Purpose: to give a chance for participants to review what has been covered.

  1. Wrap up the workshop and sum up its contents.
  2. Run a quick feedback session to gather participants' reactions. Each participant can share:
    • one thing they found very good about the session and
    • one thing they would improve for the next time
  3. Encourage participants to ask questions or give some final tips.
  4. Share resources and any follow-up details.

Further Reading and Resources

Last updated on: 5/10/2023