“My day without technology was a nightmare,” exclaims one student at the beginning of her final presentation on technology, nature, and their subjective experiences.
This exclamation amused me so much that I repeated it several times throughout the day when describing this project to other students and colleagues at Saint Francis University, a small university hidden in the hills of the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania.
As part of the curriculum for my Environmental Sociology class, students are invited to publish two different but related experiences: two days without technology and six times in nature, in solitude without cell phones or iPods.
Your reactions to these types of experiences are surprisingly profound and surprisingly life-changing, but in reality, they make life better. In this article, I will report on your experiences with technology-free days.
For this task, I gave them some instructions, but I left them how they want to define a technology-free “day.” Knowing how most of my undergraduate students are addicted to their cell phones, laptops with FaceBook, and iPods, I hate to tell them how long they should be without these supports.
Some students work hard and define a day as a day – from sunrise to dinner. Others may only come to establish a time as their “day.” I ask you to consider the following questions and write about them in your journals.
What is it like to spend a day without technology? What effect does this have on your mood? Your mind? Your emotions? What differences do you notice between a day of technology and a day without technology? Similarities? What are some of the things you like on a day without technology, and why?
What did you dislike and why? How did the lack of technology affect your social interactions? Explain. Please describe any other comments.
In our culture, most of us have become dependent on communication technology in one way or another. And most of us have become dependent on this technology without being aware of how much we trust it.
For example, we text friends, write on the blog, and Facebook. (and create a new verb in the process). With college students, I am impressed and secretly touched by the frequency with which they call their parents.
Many students claimed to call their parents every day. Others said they called their parents, usually their mother, between each class. Some students complained about the lack of meetings or practices without technology (apparently, their schedules change every day, and that is how they are informed).
I am also dismayed by the amount of interaction with the computer that has replaced face-to-face interaction with college-age students living at the end of each class. They let me know that they can send instant messages to their friends, instead of just walking down the hall to say hello.
I used this task for hundreds of students over several years in dozens of classes. I am always impressed by the insightful insight that this simple exercise brings them about their social interaction and lifestyle. The following are some of your reactions:
Be present: “On a day without technology, you are focused on what you are doing and who you are with. You have no distractions to keep you out of that place. My mind was on what I was doing.”
Becoming more social: “This activity made me more social because, to see what time to go to dinner, I had to go to people and ask them, instead of sending text messages or instant messages; I also notice (d) how beautiful this campus is. ”
“The days without technology have improved my social interactions. I talk more with my friends and girls in my dorm than just sitting around the room chatting with instant messages and texting. Chatting face to face with people is more personal than just sending instant messages and texts “.
Waste of time: “Ultimately, it wastes my time. The thought crossed my mind:” What do I do with the use of technology? ”
Technology addiction: (During a 7.5-hour bus ride to his basketball game, without technology), “I didn’t think I was going to make it. When we stopped at our first rest stop, I was tempted to ask the bus driver to open the back of the bus, but my teammate encouraged me, and I decided not to.
When we arrived at the hotel, I immediately grabbed my backpack for my phone because I wanted to see my missed calls, text messages, and voice mails. I felt like a drug addict. I realized how obsessed I was with my cell phone. “(Without my phone) I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt like I was going crazy.
I definitely mixed my emotions, and I felt sad at times, but again happy because I managed not to use my devices on the bus “.
Spending time with the family: One student extended the day without technology to the family: “While I was sitting in the living room yesterday, the phone rang.
I looked up and looked at our television. Our caller ID appears on all TVs. As soon as I looked at my laptop, my sister sent me an instant message and asked who was calling. It was at that moment that I realized how severely dependent my family is on modern technology.
She knows that my sister and I live in separate rooms and we just exchange messages if we need anything. So, I asked him for one night, the four of us could do something in a group. idea! ”
They started playing games. “To our surprise, we had fun … Who knows! Maybe this will become our new tradition!”
Start a new tradition in your home! Go without technology for a day, relieve stress, and maybe have fun!