I can honestly say that my ten days without technology did not result in different treatment from the people around me. I did, however, notice that people often felt cut off from my own personal life. People I was used to conversing with on an hourly basis, even when we were not together, could suddenly not get a hold of me. With no direct link to every one of my friends’ exact locations; it’s much tougher to keep in touch as personally as I’m used to, through either cell phone or computer. Me and my classmates were all reluctant to accept the ten days without technology challenge, but it has absolutely affected us in different, yet positive ways.
I believe that I’m in the minority as far as parent's feelings of the experiment go. Although they were extremely supportive of the NBC special, they constantly found a struggle in getting a hold of me after school and during the weekend. Eventually, it seemed like they just gave up trying to keep tabs on me…in my opinion, giving in to what we were supposed to be conquering. It seems like the further we plunge into an electronically overwhelmed society, the more reliant we become on our own devices. Something that would have been an easy task ten to fifteen years ago, such as looking up a home phone number in the phone book, is now overlooked as even a thought.
It was aggravating to not be able to get in touch with the people I needed to, but at the same time, I was often observing things I would not normally pick up on or notice. While interviewed by NBC, I was caught off guard by a question Mr. Hairston threw my way. When I said that I was able to listen more closely to my girlfriend while we walked and talked through the park, he asked what I learned. I was at a loss for words. Now that I can think more clearly, away from an immediate spotlight, I can truly say that Kellie’s real personality has shined through since the experiment began. She has always come across as less talkative, but since we began spending more quality time together, she was able to better open up on why she might be quiet at times. I was able to understand more clearly why she might be quiet around my friends, who she does not know nearly as well as she does me.
I found the toughest part of this whole experiment to be schoolwork. I take an accounting class first period, independent studies for video editing third, and marketing fourth. This means that half of my daily schedule had to be completely modified to fit a strict “no technology” condition. In accounting, I was forced to hand write our daily agenda, before jotting down every single business transaction in my general journal, general ledger and so on. I was unable to do any video editing, so I was cut off from third period. Instead, we filled out journals to reflect on our daily dilemmas. Fourth period, rather than completely our daily lessons in virtual business management, I looked up vocabulary in our marketing textbooks, and completed our Marketing Math assignments.
I could go on in either direction, how I enjoyed or hated this experiment, but I want to remember it as positive. I enjoyed seeing the benefits of having no technology, as the people around me continued to be glued to their devices that are seemingly vital to their survival. It was really nice to be unhooked for a week or so, giving me a chance to think about things I would not usually ponder. I discovered a lot of ways that technology has a chokehold on society in a negative way, considering the fact that people have the audacity to text and talk simultaneously. I realized that this accessibility of information should not be taken for granted by making you lazy or reluctant to visit your local library. I also realized that technology is a great benefit, putting information at your fingertips, knowledge of just about anything is a click away.
I’m so appreciative of the support of NBC and everyone involved in the Techless Teens experiment. I enjoyed every minute of the experience, and hope all of my classmates and superiors enjoyed watching the specials as well. I look forward to following up with NBC in future years, as I know it is a strong reference to have on any resume. I hope this study will help people better understand technology in generation Y.
Alex is one of five teens from William Tennett High School who agreed to ditch all their technology for ten days and let the NBC10 Investigative team document their tech-less adventure.