The importance of switching off

sunset-cycle

This weekend I’m going to turn off my MacBook Pro, my iPhone and my iPad. I won’t tweet or check Facebook. I won’t watch any YouTube videos or check my email. I won’t read the news on my iPad or write a blog post.

I’m doing this for three reasons.

1. I watched a TED talk by Sherry Turkle and it scared the shit out of me.

Turkle is a general genius and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other. Her TED preso is about people’s fear of being alone and their reliance on gadgets to feel connected. She has some great insights that made me question the role of technology in society.

2. I’ve developed an unpleasant feeling of self-consciousness.

I’ve recently become a dad. Over the last few months I’ve started to get an uneasy feeling anytime I notice my son watching me use my iPhone or iPad. I don’t want him to see me addicted to my second screen 24/7. Is he going to be like Bridger (the YouTube baby that can intuitively use an iPad)? How are children going to navigate and understand the differences between online and offline relationships? Like walking, talking and eating they will probably experiment and make mistakes. Hopefully, in time, they will understand the nuances, pitfalls and benefits of both realms.

3. I’m addicted to my iDevices

A recent Nielsen study concluded that the average person looks at their phone 150 times per day. I’d say I’d be up around 200 daily views which is just depressing. As my wife reminds me, on my deathbed will my one regret be ‘I didn’t spend enough time on Twitter’? Unlikely.

So the big digital detox is set. I’ll report any adverse side effects but like people who quit drinking for a month I’m pretty sure the experience will make me feel great.

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