Ten days without technology. Most people say they can’t do it, and honestly, I was one of those people before the project began. I spend a majority of my free time using some sort of technology, whether it is my cell phone, computer, iPod, or Facebook. With my text messages averaging around 13,000-14,000 a month, I felt that losing my cell phone would be the hardest part of this whole experiment. In school, I take three business/technology courses that involve computers. During the ten days, I had to alter my assignments in order to get around using a computer or technology of any sort. I found this entire experience to be very beneficial, but along with the life lessons learned, there were some hardships.
I’ll start off with the hardest parts of this experiment. I struggled most with the communication factor. On a regular basis, I make my plans on the go. When I am out and about, I usually will make a few texts to some friends and plan on what I am doing for the rest of the day. Without my phone, I found myself doing one thing with one group of people and having to stick with those people for the rest of the day. Now, I am not saying that I didn’t mind spending time with those particular people; it is just that usually I will spend the day with a variety of different friends. Having to go all the way home just to make a phone call was a serious difficulty. By the time I drove all the way to my house to make a call on my house phone, the person who I was calling usually didn’t pick up the phone anyway.
Another conflict I ran into not having technology was, “What do I do with my free time?” Mainly during my free time I would sit on the computer (on facebook) and chat with some friends. I would have my music playing on the computer, facebook open, and my cell phone on my lap. Without technology, what would I do with myself when I had no plans? This is where the benefits of the experiment came into play.
With all this free time and no technology to use, I had to figure something to do. I had to resort to plan B: homework. On the first day, I cracked open the calculus book and did my math homework for the first time in what felt like forever. Doing my calculus homework made me realize that I actually understand the material we were learning in class. On a usual basis I would not do my homework and then the next day in class, I would have no idea what was going on. But for those 10 days, that was not the case. The next day after completing my homework assignments, I knew exactly what I was doing and was the first to go up to the board to show my work.
In reality, I couldn’t do homework to fill all my free time. What was left to do? The gym. Before this experiment I found myself going to the gym about 3 times a week for about an hour a day. But now, I felt the need to go just about everyday of the week. I would say I went about 6 times a week for about 2-3 hours a day. I found myself playing basketball more as well. I would say at least two hours of my day were devoted to basketball. Surprisingly, I haven’t even mentioned the best benefit of all.
Even with all my homework getting completed and my gym membership being used more than ever, I found the best part of this experiment at the dinner table. On a regular week schedule, I might eat dinner with my family once if were lucky. This was mainly because I was always so busy doing other things. Without my technology and lack of communication, I wasn’t as busy as I usually was. During the 10 days without technology, I had a family dinner at least 4 or 5 times. A typical family dinner would consist of my mom talking to my sister and me, and then me on my phone texting up a storm. My mom would usually have pretty important things to say to us, but I was usually not paying attention because I was too busy texting my friends. My mom hated that I texted during dinner with a passion. Without my phone, our dinner conversations became very interesting because I was actually listening to what my mom had to say. Strangely enough, I found that if I actually listened to my family during dinner, I could learn a lot about their day and things that might have a big impact on me.
Just because your phone is ringing, it doesn’t mean you have to answer it. You don’t need to drop what you’re doing just to answer your phone. People can wait. If I could go 10 days without my phone, I can wait 10 minutes to call someone back.
Cell Phone Etiquette:
When hanging with another person, one-on-one, it is completely rude to just start texting in the middle of a conversation with that person. It shows that you care more about the person on the phone then you do the person you are with.
Dave 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.