A picturesque island off the coast of Finland is making waves by promoting an unconventional idea: becoming the world’s first phone-free island. Ulko-Tammio, located in the Eastern Gulf national park, is encouraging visitors to disconnect from their smart devices and embrace the beauty of nature this summer.
The initiative, led by the Visit Kotka-Hamina tourism board, aims to entice tourists to truly immerse themselves in the island’s natural wonders. Mats Selin, a representative from the tourism board, emphasized the importance of putting phones away and savoring the island’s offerings. Visitors are encouraged to focus their senses on the island’s stunning landscapes rather than being preoccupied with social media.
While the island does have a functioning mobile network for emergencies, the voluntary “digital fasting” provides an opportunity for people to take a break from constant screen time. Joel Heino from Parks and Wildlife Finland supports the initiative and believes it could be replicated in other nature and recreational destinations.
Psychologists also advocate for disconnecting from screens. Terhi Mustonen from the Sosped Foundation explains that short digital fasts can improve well-being and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Concerns about excessive gadget use prompted almost half of families to plan a summer “digital detox” even before the pandemic hit.
The concept of going offline for short breaks has gained popularity elsewhere too. In the UK, Unplugged offers boutique cabin stays where guests lock their phones in a box for the duration of their visit. This approach promotes increased happiness and productivity through dedicated time spent offline.
Psychologist Sari Castrén from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare supports the idea of digital fasting and believes it offers an opportunity for new experiences. Ulko-Tammio provides a perfect setting for those seeking an off-grid adventure, with hiking trails, a birdwatching tower, and abundant wildlife. Overnight stays can be enjoyed in tents or cabins, ensuring visitors have ample time to reconnect with nature.
The world’s first phone-free island is an innovative concept that encourages individuals to temporarily disconnect from their digital lives and engage with the natural world. This initiative not only promotes well-being but also highlights the value of cherishing moments of tranquility and appreciating the wonders of nature in our increasingly digitalized society.