Thursday, February 2, 2012

Technology Detox

I'm leaving my cell phone, laptop and I-pod in a drawer this weekend. I'm going to set my Kindle aside and read a book, browse through the Sunday newspaper with a cup of coffee at the diner in town and travel north until I find snow covered cross country ski trails. I'll take a walk with the sounds of the world to keep me company as opposed to music from my MP3 player. I'm going on a technology detox diet from Friday night until Monday morning.


Number One: I've been overindulging in the stimulating technological world lately and don't want to end up looking like this:

Number Two: Dr. Russ Newman of the American Psychological Association believes that using technology constantly adds to stress levels and he emphasizes the importance of limiting the use of electronic gadgets. Read more: How to Prevent Technology From Increasing Your Stress Level |

Number Three: I read an article in The L.A. Times (Yes...I found it online) that reported more than half of Americans would rather give up chocolate, alcohol and caffeine for a week before parting temporarily with their phones (survey by the technology firm TeleNav).

Read On:
One-third would give up sex, 22% would give up their toothbrushes (versus 40% of iPhone users, who evidently love their phone more than clean teeth) and 21% would rather go shoeless before separating from a mobile phone. Sixty-six percent sleep with their smartphones by their side.

Our addiction is so severe that people described going 24 hours without Internet akin to quitting an alcohol or cigarette habit, according to a report from British company Intersperience. About 40% of those surveyed reported feeling lonely without the Internet, and 53% felt upset at being deprived. One person described unplugging to "having my hand chopped off."

In another survey conducted by the University of Maryland found students who faced a sudden Internet and media blackout began to display withdrawal symptoms. One American said she was "itching like a crackhead" after going cold-turkey for 24 hours, and an Argentine student reported feeling "dead" without media, while a Lebanese student described the whole experience as "sickening."

The students recognized that there are joys in life besides browsing the web and curating their social networks, according to the survey, but all nevertheless reported feeling distress, sadness, boredom or paranoia. "Media is my drug; without it I was lost," said a British student. "I am an addict. How could I survive 24 hours without it?" (L.A. Times, August 2011)

After reading this I asked myself the following questions:

Does your smart phone accompany you to a restaurant?
Me: No...I don't own a smartphone, but I have been caught texting on my mobile while my husband is talking to me.

How many text messages are showing up on your usage bill?
Me: My guess...about 400. Don't know if that's a lot or a little, but it's way less than my younger son's count, who I'm guessing, has developed strong and limber thumb muscles.

How many times a day do you check your e-mail, Facebook or favorite online group's activity?
Me: Let's say, probably too often.

Do you find yourself having to immediately grab that portable device when you hear it's ringtone or beep?
Me: No. In fact I've had many complaints that I'm negligent about responding to my cell phone's orders.

Do you find yourself trembling when you see or hear, Please silence your cell phone and other electronic devices?
Me: No. I welcome the excuse to unplug especially if I'm about to watch a movie starring Johnny Depp. No interruptions please.

Do you let a device interrupt a conversation, work or even a thought?
Me: It depends on how interesting the conversation, work or thought is.

If your computer crashes, do you crash along with it?
Me: Yup.

Do you spend more than three hours a week playing a favorite video game?
Me: Probably 2-to-3 hours a week. I'm not proud of it, but it's a really good game.

Would you give up your toothbrush or shoes for your laptop?
Me: Toothbrush - NO; Shoes - Yes. I do like boots and sandals. Do they count as shoes?

Would you give up wine, chocolate, etc. for your laptop?
Me: Are you kidding? There are some things technology can never replace.

After my very subjective analysis, I'd say on a scale of one to ten, I'm a five with my technology addiction. I don't want it to creep up to number six so I'm unplugging this weekend. It's sort of like losing five pounds before it turns into ten. After all, I don't want Hal from 2001 A Space Odyssey hanging out on my shoulder. In fact, maybe the world needs another (emergency) sequel to this classic movie.


Close your eyes and listen to the one of the most beautiful guitar solos I have ever heard, Ocean by John Butler. 


For my technology detox weekend, I want to read a book where the story flows, characters are engaging and there's plenty of emotional trauma. Kristin Hannah usually meets this criteria so I'm going to buy her new book, Home Front. If chick lit is not your thing, browse through your local bookstore or library and select a story that will help you forget that the computer was ever invented.    


Dialogue from 2001 A Space Odyssey between Dave the human and Hal the computer:

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
Hal: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
Hal: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
Hal: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
Hal: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
Hal: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?
Hal: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
Hal: Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
Hal: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.



  1. I enjoyed this article. It is very creative and inventive.

  2. I liked your post and I certainly need to read it today!

  3. Wow Peggy, this blog came at the right time, I have been facing about 140 e-mails a night and am going crazy!! Yet it does sell books and give me exposure. But it's so much that I don't get my own writing done or even my blog. I need setox!!!! :) Well done article and great blog!!


  4. Thanks for the welcome comments.
    I know what you mean about trying to fit creative writing in with all of the online marketing authors need to do today. I'm getting ready to publish my first novel and am overwhelmed by the numerous ways to promote it over the Internet.