The faint phone buzz, the tiny red Facebook alert and the ever-familiar ping announcing a new tweet are not only enticing, they're absolutely addictive. As a mom who is plugged in more often than not, I'm drawn to Reboot's cutting edge movement — a day of unplugging.
Do you think people in the 21st century can handle a full 24 hours without technology? They can and they do. In just these last two weeks, NDU reached more than 2.5 million individuals via twitter! We heard from Reboot's Tanya Schevitz, communications coordinator and mother of two. Here's what she had to say about the National Day of Unplugging,
"Reboot established the National Day of Unplugging because we recognized that people are tired of always being plugged in. The expectation that you're always reachable has created a society of people who are on edge and overwhelmed."
Time for a tech timeout
Their answer is an annual tech detox. A full 24 technology-free hours to reconnect with the people around us. This year's tech timeout will start at sunset March 1 and will end at sunset March 2. The hype around NDU is huge. There are planned NDU events around the country and people from all 50 states and 68 countries have visited the site these last two weeks alone!
Reaching for a loftier goal
Their goal, however, doesn't just revolve around one tech-free day. It's about so much more than that. Tanya says, "What we're hoping comes out of the National Day of Unplugging is that by taking the time to pause and reflect on their use of digital devices such as phones and computers, people will be more aware of the impact. We hope that from that new-found awareness, people will try to put their digital devices aside more regularly, for an hour, for the length of a family dinner or a romantic walk — for however long it takes to recharge themselves and to reconnect with those around them."
And that's exactly what so many self-proclaimed technology addicts want to stand behind. Seagal Hagege is a mother of one and is expecting her second. She says, "I was always the type of mom that didn't want anyone interrupting my breastfeeding or my daughter's bath time, and then here I am with my phone at the table and by my bedside." Seagal spoke to us about modeling what we want for our children, making the most of our time together and ultimately respecting our relationships.
First time fears UNDOne
Seagal is nervously participating in NDU for the first time this year. When asked what she'll do with her newly acquired free time she wisely said, "Maybe I'll be forced to just sit and be, to close my eyes, to breathe, to realize there's another person in bed with me. And to be connected in the right way."
The fear of what to do with undefined — and sadly unfamiliar — quiet time has many people at a loss. The answer is two-fold. First, Christopher Noxon developed the UNDO List — literally a list of ideas for what to do while unplugging. You simply subscribe to The List and on Friday afternoon you'll receive the weekly UNDO List filled with ideas for conversation topics, readings, local outings and creative endeavors to ease the time away from technology — and help make the day better.
I unplug to...
Amelia Klein, associate director of Reboot, says, "Over the past four years, people have confided that they are so connected to their devices, they are now at a loss as to what to do when they unplug." So second "the I Unplug To... campaign, [which] is designed to spread the word that unplugging can be fun and healthy, and inspire meaningful experiences and face-to-face conversations."
People from all over the world are uploading their photo and pledge to the site, committing to their goals in writing and within community. Ranging from feeding the homeless and climbing mountains to relaxing, reading and loving family, the pledges are inspiring and gaining speed quickly.
Will you do it, too?
Consider this weekend's challenge as a practice run for carving out regular unplugged times devoted to reconnecting with yourself, quiet and those around you.
Tanya says, "I heard an author say recently on Fresh Air that kids today think they're second in importance to their parents' digital devices and that broke my heart and made me even more determined to make sure to unplug to spend focused time with my children. And instead of Facebooking my moments with them, I try to live them and experience them."
We can all agree how important this message is. But the real question is, will you unplug?