Something has gone amiss. Yesterday I had a work related meeting in the morning, worked at the store in the afternoon, then had another work meeting in the evening. By the time I got home, having had barely any time to touch base with my personal life, I had messages from my mother and one of my best friends. Surely Screen Free Week isn’t meant to keep me from connecting with friends and family. This development *has* to be in direct conflict with an event that explains, “On April 29-May 5, people around the country (and world!) will turn OFF TV, video and mobile games, and other screens they use for entertainment, and turn ON the world around them! Think, read, play, daydream, explore nature, enjoy family and friends–do all this and so much more when you spend 7 days unplugged.” First, 7 days! Arg. I was only planning to go through the end of this work week. Second, the event presumes that your family and friends are physically nearby and that technology keeps us stationary.
I move around a lot and mobile technology is perfect for helping me stay in touch with people who no longer live in the same city or country that I do. I love that my sister can send me photos of some weird thing that the dog is doing. I love sharing Cape Cod winter sunsets with friends who only ever see the summer editions. I love seeing updates or getting texts from friends around the world that I haven’t seen in a few years and probably won’t for a few more. I’m not ready to give up on Screen Free Week just yet, because it has inspired me to stop working earlier each day and get outside a bit more. It’s been a beautiful week, and I’ve made connections with more people who live nearby. And sure, I’ve read a few books (finished The Laura Line and just started The Scorpio Races). But I seriously contest this notion that unplugging brings you closer to friends and family. Such a thing might have been true when being plugged in meant actually having to stay physically close to a power source. Or when technology wasn’t social in the way it is now. The reason I really appreciate mobile technology is that I now feel like I can go anywhere and, yes, turn ON the world, while still being connected with everyone (near and far) that matters to me.