In celebration of the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging from sundown Friday, March 7 to sundown, Saturday, March 8, the nonprofit Reboot is asking individuals and families to reconnect with each other by putting down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours. The NDU has roots in the Jewish tradition of the Sabbath, but this modern day of rest was developed for people of all backgrounds as a way to bring balance to the increasingly fast-paced way of life and reclaim time to connect with family, friends and our communities.
Everywhere you look – playgrounds, dinner tables, sidewalks and cafes – people are glued to their phones and tablets, texting and emailing or scrolling through Facebook. Children and loved ones constantly hear, “Just a minute” or a distracted “Uh-huh” as heads are buried into connected devices. This message is reverberating throughout our society: our relationship with technology is taking over our ability to be present in our interpersonal relationships.
“In its fifth year, the National Day of Unplugging is more than a day – it’s become an international movement and a chance for individuals and families to pause and make a conscious choice to connect with the world around them,” said Reboot Executive Director Robin Kramer. NDU balances the value and importance of technology in today’s world with the goal of encouraging people to be more mindful of their technology use.
Parenting experts warn that digital distractions are harming interpersonal relationships, hindering youth from developing face-to-face communication skills and teaching children that disappearing into digital devices for endless hours is an appropriate pastime. Many toddlers even know how to use an iPhone or iPad before they can put together a full sentence.
Parents and their children are increasingly plugged into multiple digital devices across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Many toddlers even know how to use an iPhone or iPad before they can put together a full sentence. A recent study by Bridgewater State University found that the number of younger children who own mobile devices is increasing. The Bridgewater State University study found that 83 percent of middle-schoolers, 39 percent of fifth-graders and 20 percent of third-graders have mobile phones. Many toddlers even know how to use an iPhone or iPad before they can put together a full sentence.
“Technology has given us unprecedented opportunity to connect and share,” said Randi Zuckerberg, an early executive at Facebook and author of Dot Complicated. “While this is a wonderful thing, we also need to remind ourselves that a life truly well lived, is not a life constantly buried in a smartphone. By being mindful of how we use technology in our daily lives, … we truly unlock the best that technology offers us.”
In her New York Times bestseller Dot Complicated, the main character is a technology-overloaded little girl who rediscovers the wonder of the outdoors after she is forced to unplug. For the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging Randi has joined forces with the creators of the annual digital detox to encourage people to be more mindful of their technology use and reconnect in person, face to face with the people that are important to them.
Reboot is offering a package of tips to give families ideas for unplugging and sample activities for facilitating tech free time. To view the list, visit NationalDayofUnplugging.com.