Unplugging from Technology—if Only for a Day

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Since today (March 4) is National Day of Unplugging, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on the prevalence of technology in everyday life.

Happy businessman walking and using mobile phone outdoors

They are everywhere. In restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and banks. They can be found wandering the streets of big cities and small villages alike. I’m talking about the walking dead. No, I don’t mean flesh-eating zombies in search of a slow-moving meal. I’m talking about technology junkies. You know the ones, those brain-addled folks who cannot function more than a few minutes without looking at the electronic device that’s literally stealing away their time.

We’ve all seen the videos on the internet, the ones showing those clueless clowns who plunge into water fountains inside some shopping mall because they can’t bear to look away from the smartphone long enough to save themselves from disaster.

Just sit inside of a restaurant—any restaurant in any city in any country—and watch all the sagging, drooping heads. These brain-dead techno-zombies won’t even bother to socialize with their lunch or dinner companions. They just can’t spare the thirty minutes or so for simple human to human interaction. Their smartphone just won’t allow it.

Man using cell phone over meeting with girlfriend

This is the new society in which we live. This is the curse technology has gifted humanity. How many lives have been lost due to smart phones? I’ve witnessed people texting, surfing the internet, or checking email while at the helm of fast-moving vehicles. I once witnessed a driver cruise mindlessly through an intersection before T-boning an unsuspecting motorist who had the misfortune of passing through that same intersection at the wrong moment in time. The guilty party was texting or checking messages. The rest of us were stopped at the red light. You’re not likely to notice a thing like a stop light when a smart device holds your attention.

Technology doesn’t discriminate, either. It steals time and attention from young and old alike. I recall an incident during a trip to a local burger joint a few years ago. A woman and her young granddaughter were having lunch. They were seated at the next table. For most of their thirty-minute visit the girl—no more than five years old—pleaded for Grandma’s attention. She eventually gave up, realizing the futility in her effort. Granny just couldn’t be bothered. Whatever her smartphone offered far exceeded anything the little girl could manage.

Cute young woman eating and using cell phone in cafe

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against technology. Computers, smartphones, and the internet have been amazing tools—especially for writers and other creative sorts. It’s something of a miracle to be able to write a short article like this, and have it read by people all over the world with just a few keystrokes. We promote our books and short stories to readers across the globe from the familiar comfort of our homes. But look at what’s been replaced by this technology. Social interaction is now mostly carried out over Facebook or Instagram or texting or on any one of a dozen other social media sites. Attention spans have been dramatically shortened, reduced to a minimum—a fact to which I can personally attest.

So, on this day of unplugging and recharging, consider making it a weekly habit rather than once a year. Pick one day per week (or even a couple) and unplug from computers and phones and the bustle of the internet. Rejoin the world of living, breathing human beings and rediscover what’s been missing from your life.

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85 thoughts on “Unplugging from Technology—if Only for a Day

  1. Pingback: Unplugging from Technology—if Only for a Day – Latest Digital

  2. This is an amazing idea, and I believe everyone, literally everyone needs a day off like this. Technology has taken over so many aspects of our life, that we have basically no me time in our days anymore. I have a complete digital detox once a month too, once a week is still a little difficult for me 🙂 . But this is a really good article Beem, looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post, Beem. I recharge on the weekends, and spend time with family. The one exception is weekly Facetime visit with our grandsons. They live foo far to visit.

    It saddens me that so many people go out with friends or family to enjoy a nice meal, yet spend most of their time on their cell phones. Sadly, we cannot have no cellphone rule at our table, as my husband works emergency management, but he assigned a special ringtone for that and my son is on call after hours so he has a special ringtone for that. Those are our only exceptions. It works for us and we have quality time whenever we go out to eat or sit down as a family. It’s so relaxing to not just ignore the phone.

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  4. Pingback: Unplugging from Technology—if Only for a Day – Site Title

    • Oooh! I like the “lost art of writing with a real pen” part. I wrote the first draft of my novel Jazz Baby by hand with pen and paper. Fun, but I won’t do that again. Thanks for weighing in, Esther.

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  5. Excellent advice and so much truth. Social media has created zombies and many don’t know how to mingle socially without a phone strapped to themselves. On vacation and hardly a soul looking at phones. It’s like the good old days! 🙂

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  6. Pingback: Unplugging from Technology—if Only for a Day – Nelsapy

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  8. I can so relate to this post, Beem. It always amazes me when I go to a restaurant, the number of people I see on phones rather than talking to their dinner companions. Hubby and I have a rule that when we go out to eat the cell phones get turned off. We grew up in a time when dinner was for catching up with each other on the events of their day.

    I love the advances technology has provided, but many of them sadden me for lack of the human element. I’m also offline every weekend—usually Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. I’m online right now because I’ve been offline since Wednesday night and wanted to catch up on a few things. I really enjoyed this post!

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  9. Truer words were never spoken, Beem! I agree with everything you said, from the Downside to the Upside. I love technology, too, but OOOOH, the siren call that separates you from the Real World if you aren’t careful! I love the idea of unplugging one day a week, and may have to see if I can stick to that. I don’t text very often ( and NEVER, EVER while driving), so I think I can leave my phone on, so that my kids can reach me when they need to. But I sit at this desk all day long, working or blogging, and taking a weekly break from that would probably be a very good idea.

    You’ve inspired me to give it a try. Thanks for a gentle but honest reminder that Real Life is still out there, even when we close our eyes to it. Super post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. True.Currently technology has made it possible for people to communicate and intetact wirh others who are far away but at the same it has made our communication artificial rather than personal. As was presented in the article, the grandmother situation it is applicable everywhere, in physical gatherings also we are trying to connect with someone far away instead of spending time having some personal and real communication. Hope we will learn to use technology smartly perserving basic personal and humane interactions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. We communicate with those in faraway places while ignoring the ones closest to us in our daily lives. We need technology, but we need to use it wisely. Thank you for stopping by.

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  11. We had a women’s game night last night too play Trivia. One question was what percentage of the American said they texted while driving. The guesses were from 50% to 90% , but the answer was 37%. The catch is, that was the percentage of people who admitted of doing it! The story of the five years old girl is sad. Once I saw in a restaurant that everyone at the table had a device, even the little three years old kid was playing a toy game. The teacher part of me is sad about parents using the TV or any device as babysitter.
    I only use the computer for blogging, researching, and writing. I hardly get on the social media. Years ago, someone asked a friend how often she was on Facebook, she said every 4 minutes. My jaw dropped.
    I love gardening. Even if I don’t need to do any major work, I walk around my garden and check all the flowers and trees.

    Weekends are light days on the computer especially Sunday. Sunday is for the renewal of the mind and spirit.
    Than you for this great post, Beem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful points you’ve made, Miriam. Using the tv or another electronic device as a babysitter is sad. A child needs real human interaction for proper emotional and mental growth. Texting and driving is always wrong. Lives have been lost due to this careless act. I agree, Sundays (and Saturdays) are for renewal. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

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  12. Thank you for highlighting how disruptive technology can be. There are many times I would like to disconnect from my computer and social media for one day to really focus on my writing or to reflect. Your post reminds me that I can do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such an important topic to bring to the table, our phones are addicting, I imagine someday they’ll be rehab centers to break these patterns. Thanks for stoking the fire on this one, much appreciated, warmly, C

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  14. I learned years ago that I need to unplug on the weekends. My sanity demands it. I also never text and drive and I always make time for family. Wonderful tips, Beem. God willing, more people will take your advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been taking weekends away from technology for a few months now. It’s been a great way to clear my head. I also never text and drive. In fact, unless I’m using Google for directions, I don’t even touch my phone while driving. I need to be alert and keep my eyes open for those who do text and drive. Thanks for your comments, Staci.

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  15. Although I love the technology we have, I take a day once a week to unplug. I get out in nature and have those conversations. I’m on social media more than I’d like for writing so the break is necessary to be me and remember why I write. Great post, Beem 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. How true this is, Beem. Technology makes things so much easier, and not all of them bad, but goodness there’s so much wrong with our obsession. This is a great share. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the visit, Mar. Obsession is a good word. Technology opens to world to us, aids our ability to sell books, and enslaves us in the process. A necessary evil, for sure. A day off really does help.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. When our grown grandkids came to visit, we all sat in the kitchen, yakking, and the minute there was a lull in the conversation, they started scrolling through their phones. My husband and I got up to walk away, and they said, “Why are you leaving?” I said, “We can’t compete with your phones.” The phones got put away, and now when they come, we enjoy our time together and catch up with each other. I love technology, but I love lots of other things, too.

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  18. What a great post, Beem. I unplug from social media, but tend to use that time to write – totally plugged in. I love the idea of disconnecting completely. Maybe this spring and summer when the garden and trails call my name. Loved this post and the wise advice. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Diana. The great outdoors is a perfect way to unplug. I’m trying to limit my online activities during the weekend these days. It really helps clear my head. But, like you, I often use that time to write. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  19. “How many lives have been lost due to smart phones?” What a great question and a fantastic post, Beem! I couldn’t agree with you more. I was just talking with my father about this. Like you, I’m not anti-technology, but I do believe the internet and our addiction to devices is destroying our society, particularly the younger generation. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts, Jill. Technology is a must for writers today. But, as you’ve pointed out, it becomes an addiction. I’m trying to unplug during the weekends. It’s giving me back my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. What a great post, Beem! I so need to unplug and be WiFi-free for a bit. This is the perfect incentive. I’ll close down early today and then try to stay away for much of the weekend. Thank you for underscoring the need to do just that. 😊

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    • Thank you for your input, Gwen. I’m finding being offline during the weekends is helping me a lot. I still have to check in if I’m involved with certain projects, as people may have questions. But I’m probably 85% offline Saturdays and Sundays. I’m able to cut through the fog now. And my neck isn’t nearly as sore as it has been from looking at a computer screen all day!

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  21. This is such a timely and needed post. We are so tied to these devices. Yes, they are necessary, but remember the days when no one left home with a phone in their hand? One day a couple of weeks ago, I forgot my phone when I left to take care of the kiddos. For a moment I panicked, then I laughed at myself. I didn’t miss a thing! I will be unplugging for a few days starting Sunday and I look forward to it! Thank you for sharing, Beem!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I did the same thing a week ago, Jan. I walked out of the house for a quick trip to the store, realized I didn’t have my phone, and panicked for a moment. But I saw the foolishness in feeling that way over a device. I, too, remember those days when we left home, the phone remained on the wall, right where it belonged. If we missed a call, the party would simply have to call back at another time.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Several years ago, we took a cruise to Alaska. At that time, our cell phone contract didn’t cover international calls and the ship’s service was pricey. We turned our phones off. My husband kept his in our room safe. I only checked my email when we were in Alaskan ports. It was wonderful. We had so much fun on the ship – attending shows and other activities. We even played “old fashioned” card games with friends.It was wonderful. I think a day each week to unplug is a wonderful idea. We do have an unspoken rule of no phones during mealtime.

    Liked by 4 people

    • We have that rule, too, Joan. Not even the youngest finds it irksome and we used to have (pre-pandemic) long and chatty meals with a free exchange of ideas and laughter. We’re at risk of losing this. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for adding your story here, Joan. It’s really a wonderful idea to have a day where there aren’t any phones or technology interruptions. It gives people an opportunity to reconnect and just enjoy family, friends, and life. A cruise to Alaska sounds like just the thing! Sign me up!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I don’t have a Smart Phone. There will come a point where I’ll have to get one as so much is dependent on them nowadays. The story of the five-year-old is so sad! Great post, Beem!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Alex. Yes, smart phones are becoming ingrained in our daily routines more and more with each passing year. My mother has rejected these devices out of had. She still uses a flip phone. And she’s never been on the internet. I admire her stance.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Sad that it’s come to needing a national day to remind us to unplug. Hubby and I are having a media blackout from now until Sunday afternoon and keeping electronics use to an absolute minimum (like me catching up on blogs now, lols). I’ll go dark for the weekend. All of the instances you mentioned have become all too commonplace. I find the story involving the five-year-old particularly depressing.
    Great post and thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone 💕🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank you for adding to the story, Harmony. I’m finding going dark on the weekends to be refreshing and mind-clearing. You are correct. It’s become a sad situation when we need to be reminded to unplug and join the real world.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I unplug every Sunday when I go to the beach and hang out with friends while surrounded by nature. I call it my grounding day. I dig my feet in the sand and release all the toxic energy from being surrounded by technology all week, and then I absorb nature’s rejuvenating gift of sun, sand, and salt water. I still have difficulties not responding right away to someone, but I’m working on that. I’m (re)learning to put my presence in the present moment and value those in front of me. Great post, Beem! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • That’s a fantastic idea, Yvette. Grounding Day! And what better place than the beach! Of course, I’ll have to wait until summer to visit the beach, being in Michigan, where the current temp is a cool 34 degrees. But spring is rapidly approaching, and I’m already in my summer state of mind! Thank you for sharing you story, Yvette.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Beem
    I’m with you 100% on this – and a couple of steps ahead. 🙂
    1. I warn people if their call is important – which it rarely is – to call the landline; my iPhone is switched off. I carry it when I go out in case of emergencies like the car breaking down. I also use it for taking photos & videos, but that’s for my pleasure, I only do it when I’m out for a walk, and not if a human is with me. The dog is more than capable of nudging me if she wants attention. (She’s more likely to be sniffing and leaving her own messages.)
    2. I’m writing a police procedural and the DCI regrets that the use of hands-free mobiles in cars is legal when he almost runs into the back of a car stationary at a red light.
    All that said, I wouldn’t be without all my online friends, or the ability to publish books on Amazon and advertise them on Facebook and twitter. But no, I don’t use my mobile for the purpose.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wonderful points you’ve made, Sarah. I also use my phone for taking pictures and videos. They are handy devices. I like your idea of alerting those with important calls to use your landline. Thanks for sharing.

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