The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a findings from a University of Washington study that challenges the myth that young people aren’t stressed out by constant connection. The reality: When forced to disconnect for long stretches of time, some students discover that they enjoy the slower pace of life.
Neil Postman, a founding scholar of the Media Ecology movement, discusses our cultural shift from a tool-using society to a society in which he believes tools are using us. In other words, this book argues, technology now has a monopoly on culture.
This study led by University of Maryland in 2010 found that college students on five continents found it difficult to unplug—but when they did, they felt more peaceful, invigorated, happy, liberated, focused, and creative.
This article in The Atlantic magazine sparked nationwide conversations and propelled Nicholas Carr to write his book The Shallows. His work helped familiarize the reading public with scientific terms such as “dopamine squirt” and “neuroplasticity.” It also motivated some people to try disconnection to mitigate the influence of digital media on our brains.
Jake Reilly, a grad student in Chicago, avoided cellphone, e-mail and social media for 90 days in his “Going Amish Project.” The experiment took Reilly, 24, from his normal life of following 250 people on Twitter and sending 1500 texts per month to using courtesy phones at a nearby hospital and writing chalk messages on friends’ sidewalks. He credits the project with making him
The nonprofit Reboot has organized an annual “National Day of Unplugging” since 2010 to promote a new secular ritual of putting away electronic gizmos for one day each week. Their Sabbath Manifesto urges everyone, regardless of faith, to slow down and observe a day of rest. The first “commandment” is to avoid technology; others include going outside and nurturing your health.
Students at Stephens College have been experimenting with Vespers, a traditional way to close the Sabbath and begin the new week with a sunset evening prayer. The services give students time away from beeping gadgets to just relax and reflect on their lives.
As part of its “On/Off” project, BBC recruited two families in South Korea — the most wired place on earth, where social networking was practically invented –to spend a week without the Internet. Some said that living offline was inconvenient and felt “suffocating” but others enjoyed “rediscovering lost time” to play and socialize. While one person never wanted “to go through this again,” another
Jenna Wortham of the New York Times wrote an article called “The Facebook Resisters” about people — including many students — who decided to stop using social-networking sites due to “too much information.” Then, on the Times Learning Network blog, students shared their opinions about whether they would ever delete their own Facebook accounts.
In this book, Powers argues that many Westerners have been living as “digital maximalists,” with a belief that we should avoid ever being disconnected. He reflects on how devices interrupt his own family life and shares lessons from Plato, Seneca, Shakespeare, and others on how to nurture more introspection.