Tech Time Out

Be social without social media
By: Jackson Rhodes ’16

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.20.53 PM

Technology has no doubt changed numerous lives for the better, but sometimes we need to take a break. Do you think you could go an hour every day without your electronics? Or even a day without them? In “Tech Time Out”, started by Foresters, that is exactly the challenge. There are hundreds of different challenges, whether it be the ice bucket challenge or cinnamon challenge, but Tech Time Out is an opportunity to really disconnect from our electronics. Not checking your Instagram or Facebook every second of the day might present an opportunity to communicate with others face to face more, rather than over the Internet. Although one might be hesitant to take the challenge, getting out of your comfort zone and accomplishing this goal could be a positive experience.

From the integration of iPads and computers in everyday class to mostly online assignments, technology is very prevalent in our school. Tech Time Out is a challenge to disconnect from your electronics for 72 hours, or three days. The challenge will take place from Thursday, February 12, through Saturday, February 14. On February 9 during our regular Monday assembly, students will learn how to opt into the tech challenge. On Thursday morning, if you pledge to take the challenge, you will be presented with an envelope to place your phone into. Howard Levin, the 4 School Technology Director, states that putting your phone in the envelope is “a physical representation of disconnecting.” The pledge to disconnect is on the honor system so the envelope will stay with the individual in the hopes that the participant will only open it on Saturday. It will still be easy to access computers and other devices, but the act of sealing your phone in an envelope represents your pledge to take the challenge. Mr. Levin’s hope is that this challenge will open people’s minds about our personal downtime and what we do with it: “We want the opportunity for students and adults to spark a personal practice of digital disconnection.”      The challenge is also an opportunity for PR coverage and to spark other schools to take the pledge as well. This past Thursday, January 29, Mr. Farrell included details about Tech Timeout in his regular Thursday Notes to parents. You can read more about the challenge here.
Although this challenge doesn’t seem like there could be a negative outcome, one possible problem Tech Time Out might pose is the communication with parents and loved ones. Before the age of cell phones and i-devices, there was no communicating with your parents through text. But now parents are just a text away. Because of this, communicating with parents might be hard. The best idea is to plan ahead and to let your parents know if they need to reach you, they can call Mr. Riley at the front desk. Regarding your friends and family, participants can post on social media that they are planning on taking this challenge.
Robbie Vanderlan is a Stuart Hall Junior and is part of the committee for Tech Timeout. He states that this disconnection will “give me a new perspective on how much we rely on social media”. Another participant, Philip Toulinov, is hesitant about taking the challenge but thinks the challenge “will have a positive impact on my life”.

The challenge will be made possible because teachers will not be assigning online homework or using electronics during class. For some, the most challenging part will come after school, but Daniel Connolly and Jimmy Mortensen are planning a basketball tournament and an array of food choices for Thursday after school. The hardest part of this challenge will undoubtedly be when a participant gets home, so get creative and invite your family and other friends to take the challenge with you.