Technology Dieting

One thing they don’t tell you about becoming a writer is how much it actually interferes with your writing. I haven’t had a spare moment to think about my blog in several days and decided a massive snow storm keeping me locked in my apartment would be a perfect excuse to update.

Today on NBC’s The Today Show, a family was featured for their six month technology diet. The mother of this family decided to cut technology out of the home after she returned home one day from work to a house full of “plugged in” kids. She recalls asking them how their day had been and how she was answered without a single head looking up from their gadgets. At that point, Susan Maushart, author of her new book The Winter of Our Disconnect, said she felt her children were consumed with technology without even realizing it, comparing them to fish who don’t realize they are in water. She also noticed the consumption of technology when she thought about how quiet her home had become.

“I was thinking about it this morning. Our house had become so quiet,”  Maushart said. “You know when the kids were younger and before all of the technology hit, our house was a boisterous and noisy place and after a while it just started to sound like an ICU.”

After this realization, Maushart said she posed the rhetorical question: What would our lives be like without all of this stuff?

It’s not a bad question. What would our lives be like without this technology? I’m not talking about the research side of technology, like Google, but rather the communication tools. I think about my life pre-cell phone and even though I was donning glitter eye shadow and chunky boots, I still think about how nice it was to not have to carry on a conversation with the top of someone’s head. Sure we didn’t have the advantage of being able to snap a funny photo of something and send it to someone’s phone instantly, but we were able to communicate, I mean really communicate, with one another. Now I know that if anyone who was born in the 1990s is reading this, they’re probably thinking, “How could life go on without being born with a cell phone in hand?” but trust me when I say that growing up without technology was fabulous. Unfortunately, in the “grown up” world,  face-t0-face communication pales in comparison to the speed and accuracy of our never-ending tech options.

So where is the happy medium? Well for me it’s not putting my cell phone on the table at a meal, turning it on silent or off altogether when with friends and making sure I avoid texting my loved ones when I know they are trying to interact with someone in RL (real life). I also have maintained a normal lifestyle without having the Internet on my phone. Believe it or not, I’ve actually only had a few times where I absolutely needed it. For example, while in New York City for the Alumni Road Tour, having access to the subway routes would have been great, but my partner and I made due. We also would have really liked to have access to certain addresses, but again that’s why planning ahead eliminates the need for such luxuries.

Basically what it comes down to is this: Is having access to information 24/7 absolutely necessary? Do we really need to know what our old high school boyfriends/girlfriends are eating for lunch? Do we really have to check our inboxes every 10 minutes on our phones? I don’t really think so. I think we did just fine 20 years ago with limited access to information and if we would only start weaning ourselves off now, who knows where we could be in the next 20 years. If we’re lucky, we’ll regain full access to our brains and stop relying on computers (that will inevitably come alive and take over) for everything we think we need to know.

Seriously, we need to prepare.



[For the full story on Susan Maushart’s quest for RL interaction]

2 thoughts on “Technology Dieting

  1. I agree with you Bailee, we’ve all become so consumed with technology, even those of us who aren’t very good at it,that we’ve gotten away from just sitting down and having a normal conversationwith someone or God forbide we write someone a letter or a note. Great article, again. Marcia.

  2. Before this age of instant gratification, more of us grew up in conditions where some level of hardship was the norm. Thrift, that rather old-fashioned habit, was an essential part of even middle class life; things you longed for did not appear instantly but often had to be earned. As a result they were much more valued and appreciated. There was a sense of pride in mastery and achievement, in having worked one’s way to a goal, in having had the experience of some responsibility and power in achieving it, even in very early childhood.

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