Can you and your family unplug?

Are you too plugged in? Flickr photo by Andres Rueda

What is the scene when the family sits around the dinner table? Are the kids chattering, or is it quiet except for the tapping and chirping coming from smartphone and iSomethings?

Technology plays a vital role in our society (look at who I work for) but do you ever things of setting up rules or taking an extreme by going off the grid? Laura Jo Wegman and Donovan Corliss in California decided to really unplug, getting rid of anything technology-based, according to their story in Sunset Magazine.

Whereas it might be hard for you go to back to rotary phones or take away some kitchen gadgets that really do help, are there steps your family can take to be more connected, and maybe more green?

If you can’t commit to a total household unplug, maybe give up your smartphone, especially if you have an iPad and/or laptop. Some say smartphones can get distracting at the dinner table, so this might be one move to stay more connected to family and friends.

Too much to give up? Try a digital detox or technology Shabbats. Whether you just detox once, once every few months, or every weekend, it is a good way to get a mental break from technology and try other things, whether solo or with friends and family. Author Tiffany Shlain started the Shabbats with her family, which created a lot of buzz. I tried tech-free Sundays a while ago, and I realized a got a lot more accomplished that way.

Is giving up technology for a full 24 or more hours still too much for you? Create a Walden Zone. The idea comes from author William Powers, taking from the name of Henry David Thoreau’s famous novel. The basic idea is to create an area in your house that is deemed tech-free. It might be hard at first, and you might race for your gadget within minutes, but if you set a timer and dedicate yourself to it, over time it will become easier and easier. (And to think, Thoreau thought there were too many “superfluous luxuries” during the mid-1800s.)

Maybe start your quest on March 1 and 2 during the National Day of Unplugging. You have a month and a half to plan for it.

The green connection? Less usage of technology equals less nonrenewable resources used and more of the Earth’s resources saved. Also, we will appreciate the technology we have and not rush out to get the latest update, when our device is just as good still.

Have you and your family unplugged? If not, what level do you think you can do? What would be your biggest struggle? 

Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie

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