Friday, November 12, 2010

Put Down That iPad

A few people I know freely admit that they are "addicted" to technology. They get cravings and, eventually, the shakes when they are away from the computer or smart phone for more than a few hours.

I used to share the malady. But I've been able to temper my addiction in recent years. I don't always do it, but I can log off at the end of the work day now and not feel compelled to check email or Facebook until the next morning. (I'm sure that not having a smart phone helps in this regard.) When I took a week-long cruise last summer, I had no trouble ignoring the siren call of the on-board Internet lounge.

But what if you need help prying yourself away from the pretty screen? Check out Offlining, a movement to "highlight America's ever-growing addiction to technology."

The offlining movement was founded earlier this year by a couple of advertising and PR guys. The idea is to get people to log off at certain times, especially family dinners or gatherings. Their next big push is No-Device Thanksgiving. Presumably, people who join the movement will abandon their BlackBerries and iPads in favor of the traditional knives and forks on Turkey Day.

Of course the irony here is that the movement is taking place - where else? - online. I got a press release touting the founders' facility with Twitter and their growing number of fans on Facebook.

That seems a tad ironic. But I see their dilemma. You can't reach addicts unless you're willing to hang out in crack houses.


  1. Ahh yes, that's quite ironic. So I should share the word on Twitter and Facebook too? : )

    I think it's a great idea and am curious to see how much traction this picks up, especially among teens and "hyper texters."

  2. Yes Pamela, please tweet this out to everyone you know! ;-)

    My younger son has his phone in hand all the time and frequently taps away during meals. I think Thanksgiving is a good day for him to put it down. I'm sure the reaction to that suggestion is not going to be pretty, though.

  3. Love the last line of your post! I'm trying to reform but I may need a 12-step program!

  4. I have to sign off (rather than on) to get my work done. But yeah, I'm addicted. I draw the line at interrupting conversations and meals, however. And I never touch the phone when I'm behind the wheel. Made that rule long ago.

  5. This Luddite (whose cell phone is usually off, and whose email pings are always off) is thrilled that there are others who value the people they're with over the people who are elsewhere.

  6. I have a couple of (younger) friends who pull out their phones suddenly and peer at them in the middle of a conversation with me. I've learned to tolerate it, but I must say it feels disrespectful and little hurtful.

    I know they don't mean it that way - it's just reflexive - but it's odd to be on the receiving end of a deliberate and very visible attention shift with someone sitting right next to you.