National Day of Unplugging urges 24 hours of tech abstinence

national day of unpluggingTonight marks the National Day of Unplugging. It’s going to be tough and you’re not going to like it, but get a good tech binge out of your system before sundown and then disconnect from the digital world.

The holiday was started by Reboot, a group of Jewish artists who felt the need to take some timeout from technology. It began as a way to reconnect with their heritage, but has found wider popularity in our digital-consumption crazed society. The group partnered with some impressed individuals who have taken the idea and run with it. And don’t go assuming any of the holiday’s founders are tech haters: We spoke with Reboot program director Amelia Klein who told us the group includes “highly connected people from the digital and technology spheres.” One of the creators is Dan Rollman who is the president and founder of world’s record website URDB, and also supporting the cause this year is former MySpace exec Courtney Holt. Further proof it’s not anti-tech? There’s an app for National Unplugging Day, which you can have the organization send to you.

Klein also says the holiday isn’t just for extremists – she says it encourages people to make the electronic sacrifices that they can. And that might mean you simply go through a three-hour digital detox, or just eliminate television for the whole 24.

There are ten principles to observe beginning tonight that might help you get through the next 24 hours, if you choose to accept the challenge.

What it might really boil down to is keeping busy. It sounds simple to avoid one or two pieces of tech in your life (putting away the digital camera? Totally do able). But when you think about cutting off access to your precious iPhone or BlackBerry, there are those of us liable to break into a dead sweat.

So why do it? Well there are plenty of studies that say a timeout from gadgets is good for you – even if it’s just limiting yourself to one screen at a time. More and more often, we’re watching TV and simultaneously glued to a laptop, all while comforted by the smartphone in our pocket. Time correctly called this the Multitasking Generation, and it’s become increasingly true as more and more of us have access to a verifiable arsenal of gadgets.

And that’s why I’m stepping up to the plate. Five years ago I had a fraction of the technological temptation I do now: my used iBook had only Word and Internet access, and my flip-phone allotted me no more than 200 texts a month. Now, I’m saddled with an iPhone, a Kindle, software-laden notebook, Xbox, and more digital cameras than I care to say. I sleep with a phone by my bed and watch TV at the gym. So check back to see if I could make it from 24 hours starting at sundown – or possibly how long it takes me to crack.


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