But for the people who are engaging in this initiative, the idea of taking a break from technology is not a new one. The Jewish custom of celebrating Shabbat every Friday to Saturday night is one example of how communities switch off technology and value the connections with their families and friends. They conscientiously make an effort to re-connect.
When Gary Turk's spoken word film “Look Up” went viral, it highlighted the disruptive habits that have formed in our technology rich society. The need for external affirmation of our actions, in the form of “likes”, has taken over our lives in a short amount of time. Groups of people abandoning the the interpersonal ability to show gratitude throughout their day.
With the fake busyness that engulfs our lives, we would rather send a message to someone, than catch up with them for a genuine conversation.
As a result the way in which our students relate to each other has changed. There have been many heated arguments as to whether these disruptive technologies are a positive or negative impact on our school community. A disruptive technology is one that encourages “new ways of doing things that disrupt or overturn the traditional business methods and practices” (source). Although sounding negative, disruptive technologies often become mainstream once we have worked out a balance when using them.
Whilst these technologies are exciting and new, we need to take time to re-connect with ourselves, our family and our friends. Genuine relationships that show dignity, respect, care and compassion will go the distance.
Top 5 things that you can do to re-connect:
- Have some “technology free” time each week. A friend of mine makes Sunday her technology free time. Turn off the modem, switch off the phones and have a slow day. It won't kill you.
- Turn off push notifications for applications that are not important. If someone wants to get in contact with you in an emergency, chances are they will call you. So turn off those disruptive notifications from facebook, twitter and candy crush!
- Use airline mode at night to prevent push notifications or pop-ups from disrupting your sleep if you use your phone as a clock or alarm clock. Even better is to make bedrooms a “technology free zone” and buy a cheap clock to wake you up in the mornings. If you can't do this, then give certain people status to cut through the silent mode on your phone.
- Set the expectation with your friends to check your technology for messages and emails at certain points of the day. For example, you shouldn't be continually accessing your smart phone during teaching and learning time. If you must have it with you, turn on airline mode or put it on silent and put it away. Focus on the “now” and make the best use of the time with your teachers or your students.
- If you find yourself bouncing messages back and forth with one person, ring them, talk to them and connect with them. Chances are you will find the discussion more rewarding than a collection of messages on an inanimate object!
How do you re-connect?
The next time you get together with friends, “look up”, log off and enjoy each other’s companionship.
Here is another video that Mr Toby Robison sent me on this topic.