Tech Timeout

Marty Riemer & Michael A. Stusser

This article, entitled "Tech Timeout," is presented by Forester.

Texting, tweeting, Facebook, smartphones, tablets, iPods, laptops --- whew! No time left for talking.

Experts are noticing that so-called technology addiction – in our own homes and in the broader society – could be leading to a sense of social isolation, even for family members who live together. Experts say that isolation can be a problem. 77% of US parents believe their family would benefit from taking a one hour break every day from technology, according to a recent Tech Timeout survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Foresters. The same survey found that on average, a US resident admits to spending 6.5 hours per day on electronic devices outside of work.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Turkle, who teaches at MIT says we’re communicating more, but it’s happening online. She calls it being ‘alone together’. She argues that we’re not sharing our lives, but letting technology present the self we want to be.

The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge is now being launched to encourage students to disconnect from all digital devices for a few days, then reflect on their experience in group discussion or writing. The challenge accepts that digital devices are a part of our lives and it’s not intended to downplay the positive aspects of technology when used appropriately and in moderation. However the hope is that participating students come away with a renewed awareness of the role of technology in their own lives. Parents are also advised to get involved in the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge with their children to help them stay on track.

The program is an extension of Tech Timeout and is presented by Foresters, an international life insurance provider, in collaboration with Twisted Scholar, an innovative educational production company.

In the video below, Marty Riemer, founder of Twisted Scholar and Michael A. Stusser, author and documentary filmmaker (whose recent cover story for Village Voice Media Group, “Sleeping with Siri,” about digital balance was made into an award-winning documentary) discuss problems surrounding the growing dependence on digital devices in the home and how students and parents can get involved in the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge.

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