My journalism and communications class recently assigned a project where I was not allowed to use technology for 24 hours. That’s right, a full day without my phone, laptop, TV or anything with an “on” switch. At first I thought it was impossible to live without technology for a day. In the end I was kind of right but learned some valuable lessons along the way:
We use technology throughout the day without even knowing it.
I started my “technology blackout” day having brunch at my sorority house. This is where I faced my first challenge: In order to get into the house, you need to use a digital fingerprint scanner. Since I was not allowed to have any contact with electronics, I resorted to an old-fashioned knock on the door to get into the house. When I returned to my dorm, I needed to use a digital fingerprint again in order to pass security. This made me realize not only is our campus’ security tech-savvy, but we also rely heavily on technology to get through our days. Even something as simple as getting into a building uses technology.
Our phones do not have to be our lifelines.
Whether it is texting, sending emails, checking social media or listening to music, I rely on my phone for communication and entertainment. However, having my phone off for the day was a relief. I didn’t have that mini panic attack you get when you think you’ve lost your phone (when in fact it’s buried at the bottom of your bag), and I didn’t obsess over my social media notifications throughout the day. More importantly, I realized the device I depend on for communication was actually preventing me from communicating with others. As I walked around campus that day, I noticed almost everyone was walking with their heads down, staring at their phone screens. Since I didn’t have the privilege of walking with my phone glued to my hand, I started noticing my surroundings more. I realized I passed by numerous friends and familiar faces around campus but am typically “too busy” looking at my phone to notice the people around me. This activity taught me technology can provide a distraction from experiencing everyday encounters.
Technology exists for our own convenience.
While it may be convenient to fingerprint scan your way into a building or use social
media as a distraction when walking around campus, this 24-hour cleanse reminded me the world does not have to revolve around technology. I was able to appreciate face-to-face conversations over my Facebook feed and embrace everyday moments rather than worry about Snapchatting them. This is not to say we should get rid of technology altogether. Living in a technologically driven society, it is quite difficult to go through our everyday lives without access to electronics. However, it is important to think twice about how much technology we use in a day and re-evaluate when technology is a necessity versus a convenience.
Ultimately, I highly recommend reconnecting with your technology-free self. If you commit to spending a day without electronics, you’ll be surprised how this eye opening experience will put a twist on your typical day.
Carly Price is a freshman majoring in journalism. Her column, With a Twist, runs every week on Wednesday.