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Idol Chatter

I write a lot about unplugging from technology and in particular, from the web here on Idol Chatter–from internet sabbaths to giving it all up for Lent. So I was particularly interested by this recent New York Times feature on a selection of its readers who agreed to spend long periods of time utterly off the web in “The Unplugged Challenge.” Reporter Joshua Brustein writes:
“Michelle Francl spent four weeks last year in monastic silence. It was an extreme break. . . . . Stepping back from technology in a world of constant communication can be a difficult task. The New York Times asked readers to temporarily give up their technological tethers, then make videos about the experience.”
And an experiment in touch self-discipline, too. Recently, the New York Times has run major articles on what our “addiction” to technology does to the brain and our ability to concentrate, plus how it effects even the parenting (or lack of) small children. For another participant, “giving up the Internet and phone led to a desire to purge other technologies from her life,” yet for several, the need to text and check email but to be unable to do so made them feel “jittery” and overall, more stressed. The idea that giving up technology requires a monastic level of discipline is not crazy, given the way we have become so dependent on our iPhones and other wifi-equipped devices, though apparently “Experts say that in general, those wanting to control their technology use should approach the task more like a diet than a withdrawal from drugs.”
How lovely that we’d need to make such a distinction. The participants in the “unplugged challenge” made videos to report on the experience–you can check them out here.

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