A bit ironic, really, that the day I start my editorial on technology is the National Day of Unplugging. Ominous, maybe? I hope not.
The concept of the National Day of Unplugging (which starts today and goes through tomorrow as well) is to disconnect from all technology for a day (or two) and connect with people in real life. That is to say, in person. The point of the National Day of Unplugging is to encourage people to pull our noses out of our iPhones and participate in life in real time.
The project was made by members of the Reboot network, which was founded in 2002. It is an outgrowth of the Sabbath Manifesto, which is a project that encourages taking one day a week and avoiding technology, connecting with friends and family, spending time outside, and enjoying silence, among other things. The National Day of Unplugging program hosts many different events to keep people entertained on their Day of Unplugging, like hikes, workshops (complete with a cellphone sleeping bag), and concerts in different cities with live music.
I love technology, but every once in a while you need some time away from the computer. And that’s regardless of the health benefits. Computer and phone screens emit blue light, which keeps you from sleeping. Unplugging will help you get a better night’s sleep, as using your computer before bed tricks your brain into thinking that it is time to be awake.
But really, is Unplugging all that bad? Without the phones making noise, without Netflix blaring, you can enjoy dinner with conversation. You can read a book. You can sit quietly. When is the last time you did that? Without music or texting or TV? Unplugging can be beautiful. It doesn’t have to be all day. I know that a lot of people have homework to do, and that can take quite a while. But, today or tomorrow, if you get a chance, take an hour or two to read a book, or spend time with your family, or go out somewhere. See what happens.
To learn more about the National Day of Unplugging, or to make your pledge to unplug, go to nationaldayofunplugging.com.
-Reagan Stroka ’17