I’ve been in the midst of traveling a lot recently (LA to DC), DC to Ottawa, Ottawa to Toronto, Toronto to Niagara Falls, back to Toronto, and now back to Ottawa (and in about a week), back to DC. In this time, especially when I was going from LA to DC, I have, somewhat out of necessity, had to “unplug” from my usual comings and goings on the internet. In this time, I have rediscovered how liberating it is to be away from technology.
Do you remember the last time you unplugged?
It might sound scary at first, turning off the blackberry, putting away the iPad, shunning your iPod, leaving the TV room, and just being with your “thoughts.” Or even just being quiet with yourself. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but I would bet that there are a fair number of people who have tried this temporary “unplugged-ness” who, at first, were probably quite anxious about it. Maybe there were trepidations about what would happen to x, y, or z while they weren’t able to respond immediately. Eventually (at least that’s the hope), these types of people realize that the greater world (and even their more immediate world) still goes on without their interacting with it. Strange, huh?
In preparing to write this post, I did a few searches and found that there are nearly 6 million results for the search query: “when was the last time you unplugged.” An interesting result: Unplug Your Friends.
Straight from the website’s homepage:
It’s an epidemic. It can strike anyone. It begins harmlessly enough… maybe with a cell phone, an online social network profile, or an IM. But before long, the electronic screens invade every corner of your life.
There’s a name for this tragic and extremely annoying condition: Screen Addiction.
But there is hope. Send an intervention to someone you care about! Help them take the first step towards recovery.
There’s also a YouTube video and a form you can fill out to send to your friend with a number of drop-down menus, which, depending on your mood, can be quite comedic (or quite unfortunate, should the intended recipient actually be exhibiting some of the tendencies). Overall, I think the site could be quite handy for an “electronic” intervention (which may be the only way of reaching someone who has a fear of unplugging).
I think the most important thing to consider with regard to “unplugging” is moderation. Someone who spends 14 hours a day with their laptop or the blackberry glued to their thumbs is probably, at some point, going to need a day or two where this isn’t the case. I can’t imagine it’s very welcomed by the body (even if their workspace is completely ergonomic). In the end, you can’t force your friends to “unplug” themselves from their technology, but you can lead by example. As the title asks, “when was the last time you unplugged?”