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Unplugging From Technology: Seven Weeks Of No Tech . . . And Loving It

We are all starting to notice the disadvantages of technology. Many of us have wondered whether our son or daughter has a technology addiction. Our teen blogger reveals why she loves spending time every summer unplugging from technology.

“Hello, my name is (insert here), and I’m a techaholic; I am addicted to technology.” Does this sound like anyone you know?

I myself do not fall into this category, yet I know many teenagers who do, so when I tell them that I go for a seven-week period with no cell phone, ipod, etc., they don’t hear camp but instead hell-on-earth. In today’s climate of constant communication, going off the grid not only makes me sound insane but also like a fugitive.

However, it’s this refuge from technology that actually helps me keep my sanity.

My camp is tucked away in Fairlee, Vermont, and I stay there from June to August. The view is picturesque, set on a lake with mountains in the background. A setting like this doesn’t need any form of technology, but full, present appreciation.

The great sense of community helps as well. There are at most 140 people in camp. Except for a few administration ipods busted out for the occasional dance, everyone is technology free. This makes going without any outside connections much easier. It’s like a little bubble with limited communication going in or out of camp.

I have noticed a considerable difference between how I feel when I’m at home and how I feel when I’m in Vermont and I attribute it to the lack of technology. At home, I really feel the negative impacts of technology. I am much more stressed. The constant connection through email and texting magnifies this aspect of my life. Because my email is connected to my phone, I can never quite escape school updates. I’ve also struggled with sleep my entire life. Having to stay up late and look at screens just messes up my sleep even more.

Camp means calm. No phone or email means no stress. If someone wants an update about my life, that person must write me a letter (basically that means my mom, my dad, and my grandma). Other than that, I don’t have to worry about home life reaching me. The combination of fresh air and lack of screens allows me to fall asleep easily at night, a rare feat at home. My quality of life is greatly improved by lack of technology.

Not everyone goes to camp, but unplugging from technology is still very doable  in your everyday life. If this seems daunting, quitting cold turkey is not the only method. Try not using any technology an hour before bed, or giving yourself 30 minutes a day where you are unreachable by any means of communication. Challenging, yes, but the first way to combat addiction is by admitting you have a problem.

Jayne O’Dwyer is a junior at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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