At the beginning of her final presentation on technology, nature, and both internal experiences, one student said, “My day was free of technology. I was so impressed by this proclamation that I explained this project over and over again to other students and colleagues at St. Francis University, a small university in the Algeni Mountains in central Pennsylvania.
As part of the curriculum in my Department of Environmental Sociology, students are asked to write on two different but related types of experiences: two technology-free days and 6 times in nature, without cell phones and iPods alone. The response to these kinds of experiences is both a profound and dramatic change in life, but in reality, a life-changing experience. In this article, I will describe their experiences with technology-free days.
I have given them some instructions for this mission, but I leave it to them to explain how to describe the technology-free “day”. I know how many of my elementary students are addicted to their cell phones, Facebook laptops and iPods, and I hate to tell them how long they should go without such support. Some students really stretch themselves out one day – from sunset to dinner. Others can only go for an hour as a “day”. I ask them to consider the following questions and write about them in their newspapers.
How does it feel to spend a day without technology? How does it affect your emotions? Your mind? Your feelings? What are the differences between Technology Day and Technology Free Day? Similarity? What are some of your favorite technology-free days and why? What did you not like and why? How has technology-free exposure affected your social relationships? Explain. Please describe any other observations.
In our culture, many of us are dependent on technology in some way or another. And many of us are dependent on that technology, not knowing how much we can rely on it. For example, we text friends, blog and we ‘Facebook’ (and create a new verb in the process). With college students, I was surprised and secretive about how often my parents would call. Many students say that they call their parents every day. Others say that between each and every class, they often call their parents, often their mother. Some students complain about meetings or experiences without technology (obviously, their schedule changes daily and this is how they are informed).
On the other hand, I am deeply saddened by the fact that computer interactions have replaced face-to-face interactions with each of the college-age students who live directly in the auditorium. Instead of just going to the hall, they report to me that they are IM friends.
I have used this work in dozens of classes for hundreds of years. I have always been fascinated by the simplicity of this simple exercise in their social interactions and way of life. Select some of their personal responses:
Attendance Now: “One day without technology, you are completely focused on what you are doing and who you are with. You have nothing to worry about to take that place. My mind was on what I was going to do.”
Being more social “This activity has made me more social because I have to ask what time it is for dinner and when to go to people and ask for a text message or instant message. I also noticed how (d) this compound is good.
“Technology-free days have improved my social interactions. I have more conversations in the hall than with my friends and girlfriends at home smiling and texting. Talking to people face-to-face is more personal than texting and texting. It’s just.
Waste of time: “Finally, it wastes my time. The thought crossed my mind, ‘What am I really doing with technology?’
Addicted to technology (a 7.5-hour bus ride to her basketball match, without technology), “I never thought I would find it. Instead, I decided that my partner would not encourage me to open the bottom of the bus. I missed the calls, text messages, and voicemail. When I arrived at the hotel, I felt like a drug addict. I realized how much I was worried about my cell phone. “(Without my phone) I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel crazy. I’m sure it mixed up my emotions and I’m sad at some point, but I’m happy again and I didn’t use mine. The equipment on the bus
Spending time with family: One student extended a tech-free day to her extended family: “Yesterday I was sitting in the living room, the phone rang, I looked into my eyes, and I watched our TV. Our caller ID will be displayed on each TV. As I looked down at my laptop and laptop, my sister quickly called and asked who to call. It was then that I realized how much my family was dependent on modern technology. I told my mother that night. The story. My sister and I know that we live in separate rooms and that we only send each other if we want something. So one night, I asked her if we could do something as a group. I thought this was a great idea!
Next they started playing 2 SORRY games and 1 SCATTERGORIES game. “We’re surprised we’re having fun ….. Who knows! Maybe this is our new culture!”
Start a new culture in your family! Go tech-free for a day, get rid of stress and maybe have a little fun!