Hi. My name is Stacey and I’m addicted to technology. I check my iPhone too often. I am on my computer way too much. I do not know how to unplug unless G-d commands me to do so.
This pretty much sums up my “Screen Free Week,” which I knew couldn’t be devoid of screens since I needed to prepare for a professional development session I’m leading tomorrow. In addition, going off the grid for an entire week is really challenging in the 21st century. Though I did have some successes. They were:
- I watched very little television all week. In fact, I stretched every morning without turning on the television. Thankfully the weather was nice so I got to listen to the birds chirping.
- I read more books to my daughter after nap time since “Sesame Street” was not an option.
- I spent more time outside with my daughter. [One day we went outside three times (each time we were out for about an hour). ] I even taught her how to do some weeding!
- I read almost all of Word Nerds, which is one of the most fantastic books about teaching vocabulary to elementary school students. It’s written by inner city school teachers, which might be the reason I connected with it so much. I’m looking forward to reviewing it on Two Writing Teachers soon.
- I resisted the temptation to click on breaking news alerts every time they appeared on my iPhone. Though watching them was a way to keep me connected to the world since I wasn’t watching the morning news shows or the evening news.
- I previewed a lot review copies of picture books that had been piling up in my office.
- I stayed off of Facebook and Twitter.
There were some low points to the week:
- TVs were on in medical offices. Thankfully, I had a book with me so I tried to tune it out as much as possible.
- 40 minutes on an elliptical rider is a long time. I turned on the TV each time I got on the elliptical this week. I felt as though I were naughty for watching “Martin Bashir” and “House Hunters,” but I had to do it to keep myself moving.
- I realized I check my phone too often. Even though I said I’d only check email three times a day, I checked it more often. I don’t think this is about self-importance. It’s almost like a nervous habit.
I couldn’t truly unplug last week, even though I wanted to. It feels reasonable for me to put a vacation message on my e-mail when it’s Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Passover and I stay away from screens for religious reasons. I didn’t feel as though I could put a vacation message on my e-mail for Screen Free Week.
My semi-unplugged week made me realize I need to find more ways to unplug and not just when G-d commands me to do so. Reducing screen time in the 21st century is really tough. (Apparently, I’m not alone in this struggle. Click here to read an article by Nina Badzin who is trying to reduce her iPhone usage.) However, if I want to continue to notice moments like the time my daughter “read aloud” to her stuffed animals, then it’s incumbent upon me to find ways to become less attached to the technology that holds such a strong grip on me.