Trapped by technology? Take in life unplugged

What would happen if you didn’t own a cellphone, television or computer? How would that impact your life?

There are many in this world who can barely afford food let alone technology, but that’s hard to imagine in this tech-attached world. Think back to when you were a kid (if you are old enough.) Do you remember what you did unplugged from all this technology except for television? I barely do. How did we find new places to go? How did we make last-minute plans? I do remember talking face to face more often.

Now, people are glued to their smartphones, using them through get-togethers and time spent with loved ones, letting life slip them by.

One guy was determined to not let life slip by and also wanted to try a social experiment by unplugging his life.
Why not try an unplugged, tech-free day?

Jake Reilley, copywriting student at the Chicago Portfolio School, dubbed it the Amish Project as he unplugged himself from technology for 90 days. That was 90 days without a cellphone, a computer and Facebook and Twitter accounts. Instead of using technology, he wrote letters, made signs and enjoyed life — or the life we knew before social media took over.

According to a Yahoo! article, “I was reading every single Tweet and I follow 250 people. Then, I would waste a good hour and a half on Facebook. I was sending more than 1,500 texts a month. I never really counted minutes on the phone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 600 to 900.”

He found out who is true friends are, got back together with his girlfriend and learned a little more about himself. In the end, he used technology to show others how it went (the video below), but he said his life had been impacted in so many ways.

The basis for this project, shunning modern technology, can be used in so many ways. Maybe don’t allow cellphones when with friends and family. Or pick an hour a week, an hour a day or a whole day to try to spend time with yourself, unplugged.

How about a trip, when you leave your technology off? Maybe rough it in the mountains?

Create some rules. For me, I am allowed the radio and my car, but no TV, iPod, computer or smartphone. For others, TV has been around for such a long time that it might be OK for them. I think it distracts me, so it’s a no for me.

Plan your day so that you aren’t tempted to use technology. Set up a time the day before to meet with friends. Encourage them to interact with you and not show you the YouTube video they thought was awesome instead. Play boardgames. Read books. Go for walks/hikes/bike rides/runs. Don’t necessarily create new hobbies, but refresh old ones that might have been on the backburner for a long time.

But don’t go crazy, filling your days. Slow down. Eat a good meal. Take a stroll into new territory.

Published in Culture and People

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  1. Michael Jon Falk

    Thanks for sharing this Bethany, it’s so true. I stumbled upon a update recently on facebook about someone volunteering in a isolated part of the world tucked in the mountains. I’m talking, taking a big step back on the technology and they were worried. They didn’t know if they could handle being away from phone, internet, the network, etc.

    Personally,.. this is coming in my life, I’ve felt it, pondered about it and longed for days where I don’t think about any of this. I really don’t enjoy social networking, I’m not good at it, nor do I enjoy sharing every little aspect of my day but in this business it appears social networking is a necessity.

    Truthfully, the only thing that keeps me connected at this point is the dream of escaping something I hate even more, the proverbial treadmill known as the Rat Race.

  2. Jennifer Choban

    Certainly an interesting topic. I pick and choose what technology I like (sometimes getting flack from people for not participating in social networking tools). One thing travel has taught me though, is that people really value feeling connected. I’ve met people who live in villages without electricity take a two hour bus ride to charge their cell phones. I think it’s easier to leave it behind when you know you have the option of easily returning to it.

  3. Tiffany

    Love this post and the video that went along with it. I must admit I use my computer more than I’d like on a daily basis now that my work is home-based through the internet. But, Facebook is alwayss signed in and distracts me way more than it should even though there’s really nothing new happening every hour that can’t wait until later. But what erks me is when you’re hanging out with people face-to-face and everyone is checking their email, FB, etc. like what did we do before all that technology took over?! Although I don’t think I’d take this guy’s actions to that extreme of shutting down everything I believe there should definitely be a limit to how much and when all this technology is being used.

  4. EJ Juen Jr

    Hi Bethany, this is a fun experiment! Although it’s extreme, it helps a lot of people realize that we should be living within our community instead of virtual communities online with people we don’t really know. This guy realized the value of investing more time with REAL friends and family.

    This also reminds me of a time me and my wife was searching for a resort and she said that she’ll skip the good resort we found because people are complaining that there are no TVs in their rooms. I told her, “why go all the way there just to watch TV when we can do it here.” So we went there and had a good time watching the stars while enjoying the breeze and having a fun conversation.

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