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Why I didn’t observe National Day of Unplugging

Friday March 4th was the start of National Day of Unplugging. Like the Jewish Sabbath, it goes from sundown Friday March 4th to sundown Saturday the 5th.

On this day, people across America are supposed to “reclaim time, slow down their lives and reconnect with friends, family, the community and themselves.”

Forget it. I’m all for spending time with family and friends but some of my friends and family don’t happen to live with me. Thanks to the very technology that we’re not supposed to use on this day, I’m able to do exactly what the organizers are calling for.

The group has posted ten principles which include: “avoid technology,” “connect with loved ones,”
“nurture your health, and “get outside.” With the exception of avoiding technology, that’s exactly what I plan to do this weekend. I’m going to use Facebook to connect with loved ones, I’m going to to track my diet and exersice and blog about it on I might even use the pedometer on my smart phone to keep track of my walking when I take the group’s advice to “get outside” this weekend.

Of course, the group does have a point. Some people are kind of addicted to technology. But not me. When I sit down at 11:00 PM to check my email before bed, I almost always pull myself away from the computer by at least 3:00 AM. OK, I admit it, I’m a bit of a tech junkie but it’s not tech for tech’s sake. It’s for connecting with people, reading the news and generally being more plugged in to what’s around me. Or so I tell myself.

Having said that, there are times when we should turn off the PC and go for a walk. Good thing we have cell phones to keep us company while we’re doing it.

OK, Maybe They’re Right

But really, I actually do think it makes sense to take a break from technology once in awhile, such as when you’re having dinner with friends or family. I remember being in a restaurant in Silicon Valley seeing an entire table of 20-somethings texting while they could have been talking to each other.

I also believe parents need to be a good role model for their kids. If we’re going to ask them to take a break now and then from their tech toys, we should too.

But I still don’t plan to unplug this Sabbath. Being conscious about your use of technology makes a lot of sense, but — for me at least — it’s not necessary to make a religion out of it.


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