Tech-free for a day, what a great idea! I have managed to go tech free for whole days in the summer, but only because cell service from the beach is sketchy at best and I have no choice but to be “tech-free”. We all need days to unwind and leave the office, kids, school work, and family issues behind. The problem is that technology has put us in a state of constant contact, and we don’t really know how to interact without each other through any other means. As one student was quoted, in the article by Joann Foley-DeFiore, it is quite common for family members to text each other from within home. (Foley-DeFiore, 2010) My children do this all the time. In fact, I have seen not only text from the same house, but from within the same room. It scares me to think that future communication depends on how fast your fingers can type the message.
I think the student had the right idea in having her whole family participate in the tech-free day. It allows for the whole family to have time together, and gain new respect for each other, while practicing their verbal and interactive communication skills. Technology, specifically cell phones, has taken our ability for basic conversation. Adults and children alike have become so dependent on text messaging, that the idea of actually speaking to someone causes unnecessary stress. Although text messaging takes away some stress when used to avoid conflict, such as a breakup or delivering bad news, it also hampers one’s ability to stress importance of a message or even extreme pleasure in a message. A big problem with text messaging is that we become often too judgmental, or even defensive of the message being received. However, when one relies on text messaging, often times the true meaning of the message is diluted or taken out of context. This is because text messaging is unable to provide things like intonation, dramatic presentation, or even facial expression. The more we use text messaging and emails as a main method of communication, we fall farther away from conversational skills that express these items. I think that more and more, adults seek the opportunity to leave their cell behind in effort to escape work and family responsibility, even for just one hour. All too often new moms will see the silence or human contact that they cannot get at home. I called it grown up time, when my children were young. I know one young mom who would text her mom all day; the baby did this or that, or about how tired she was. It got to the point where her mom stopped answering the text, which forced her daughter to call her. It turned out to be the best thing, since once the baby got bigger, mom didn’t have enough arms to keep the phone away from baby’s sticky fingers. Mom also learned that she liked hearing her mom’s voice as opposed to typing, so they made a weekly date out to catch up that way. It ended up being a fantastic way for mom to keep up with grown up conversations and enabled her to present a great interview when she was ready to go back to work.
On the flip side, I took a speech class on semester and