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By Melissa Ford
If my last post didn’t inspire you to limit your screen usage (and your child’s) during Tune In to Your Community and Tune Out TV, then reading Anna Gaebler’s article about teenage life without screen machines should. Anna is a staff writer for Oak Park River Forest High School’s newspaper, Trapeze. Take a look into Anna’s life without technologies by reading her article below.
While you're at it, try Anna’s experiment (You don’t have to go cold-turkey like Anna, but limit your use.) and use your free time to reconnect with your family, friends and communities by participating in the extensive offerings available during this two week "screen-free" extravaganza. From House Red Wine Tasting, Rain Barrels Workshop, Book Hunt, Cupcake Extravaganza at Magic Tree Bookstore, Live Music at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, All Heads in Helmets Kickoff Event to Dance Day at Cheney Mansion and much more! There is something for everyone. (Click here for Calendar of Events)
Again, much thanks to Anna Gaebler and Laura Brennan, both writers for Trapeze, for their willingness to limit their screen usage and share their discoveries with us.
News Staff, Trapeze
7 a.m.: At this hour, I was still asleep. My usual alarm clock, my cell phone, lay turned off and face down on my bedside table. On most days, the “30 Rock” theme song would have blared loudly at 6:30 am sharp, signaling the start to yet another school day. But today was different. At about 7:05 am, my father came into my room, saying, “Why aren’t you up yet?!” And so began my day. I got ready for school in silence. Usually, I turn on my computer, pull up iTunes, and play some music. Instead, I packed up my backpack, tied my shoes, and brushed my teeth in silence. By the time I left for school, I was already unnerved.
12 p.m.: By lunch, I was even more disoriented. Earlier in the morning, I’d found myself fishing through my backpack to pull out my iPod or cell phone, only to remember that it wasn’t there. During a free period, I read a book for English without simultaneously listening to music and found it much more difficult to focus. It occurred to me that I had forgotten to tell my mother I needed the car after school and once again delved into my backpack to grab my phone. I came up empty-handed.
4 p.m.: As soon as I got home, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. On a normal school day, I might go on Facebook for a bit or sit down in front of the television for a half-hour. Instead, I concluded that I had three options: do my homework, read a book, or go to sleep. Ruling out the last two options, I sat down at my desk, deciding to get my homework done as fast as possible. As usual, I unzipped my backpack, pulled out all my books, and got started. But after only 45 minutes, I was done with a large chunk of my work. I could barely believe my eyes when I looked at the clock. Without the constant interruptions of receiving texts or pulling up Facebook for just a few minutes while working, my productivity improved exponentially. By 7 pm, I was done with my homework for the day, and I had worked ahead for a few classes. For the first time all day, I was thankful that I didn’t have technology to distract me.
8 p.m.: After I’d eaten dinner, I did the dishes and dilly-dallied a bit. By 8 o’clock, though, I couldn’t find anything else to distract myself with. I yearned to open my laptop and go on Facebook for just a minute. Or turn on my phone just to see if anyone had texted me. Or watch just one episode of “Modern Family.” It took all the willpower I had to resist. At that point, a feeling of isolation overwhelmed me. I felt entirely helpless, disconnected and alone. The only people I’d talked to in the last five hours were my parents and sister. Part of me couldn’t wait to go back to school tomorrow so I could feel reconnected with the world. By 10 pm, I couldn't stand it anymore and went to bed.
Pro: Less procrastination.
Con: Feeling disconnected.