No Technology for 3 Days – Could You Take a Tech Timeout?

Image via Flickr/NoJo Foto

We've become accustomed to the conveniences of technology. A quick text to ask if your partner can pick up milk on the way home. An internet search to see if green poop is normal. A video call to the kids when you're away for the evening, to say good night. It can feel reassuring to have this ability to connect. 

At the same time, there is the other side of the coin. The family sitting at a restaurant together, silent, as each person stares at their smartphone. The conversation that needs to happen face-to-face, but ends up falling apart in a series of angry texts. The endless blogs about parents who are missing out on their children's lives because they are more concerned with getting the perfect photo for social media, rather than paying attention to the life happening in front of them. 

Is there a way to strike a balance between the convenience and connectivity we value and the simultaneous disconnect that is so easy to fall into, which we want to avoid? Marty Riemer, founder of Twisted Scholar, along with author and filmmaker Michael Stusser are looking for that balance. They're encouraging families – teens, especially – not to ditch the technology, but to take a Tech Timeout to be reminded of what life can be without smartphones and video games. 

The statistics are clear: 

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.

Riemer and Stusser are here, today, talking with EverydayFamily's Shiloh Johnson, about The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge. It's not an attempt to rid teens of technology, but to give them a break that allows them to evaluate how tech influences their lives and their decisions. When you hear how many text messages they are sending in a day, it's a good reminder why this kind of thing is worth exploring. But teens aren't the only ones with tech addictions. This challenge is an extension of Tech Timeout, presented by Foresters, an international life insurance provider, in collaboration with Twisted Scholar, an innovative educational production company. Tech Timeout encourages families to take a one-hour break from technology each day, to reconnect and recharge themselves and their relationships with one another. 

So what do you think? Could you take a three-day break from technology, or does the mere thought of it set you on edge? What about an hour a day? Check out the video and let us know your thoughts! 

Marty Riemer — Marty Riemer is a well‐known Seattle radio personality and founder of the educational production company Twisted Scholar, known for its engaging, humorous and socially aware programs, including one of the most widely viewed anti‐bullying videos in the country. Riemer and his crew have produced shows for Nickelodeon, Microsoft, and NHK Japan – though he speaks fluent German not Japanese.  In 2013 he developed the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, which led to his directing the acclaimed documentary “Sleeping with Siri.” Far from being anti‐technology, Riemer sports a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, and is still known to geek out over the latest gadget.

Michael A. Stusser -Michael A. Stusser is an author, Gonzo journalist, and documentary filmmaker. Stusser’s cover story (Village Voice Media Group) “Sleeping with Siri,” about finding digital balance, was recently made into an awardwinning documentary.  Stusser’s book, The Dead Guy Interviews: Conversations with 45 of the Most Accomplished, Notorious, and Deceased Personalities in History was released to critical acclaim by Penguin Publishing. He is also a columnist for mental_floss magazine and Shambhala Sun and his work is frequently published by Law & Politics, Yoga International, the Seattle Weekly and the New York Times Syndicate.


What do you think?

No Technology for 3 Days – Could You Take a Tech Timeout?

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Melissa Melissa says:

    Yes I don’t have a phone but we had to pawn our tv for a week and we survived with just radio.

  2. Profile photo of LaQuanta LaQuanta says:

    yes this will be a challenge for me, only because I have gotten so far in my Candy Crush game that the little hiatus will have me behind on my game!! Lol

  3. Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I would take the challenge. I’m going to try and get my husband to do so also.

  4. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    My husband works 12 hrs per shift for 5 days. So basically when he’s home, he wants our attention. He would ask me not to spend so much time on Facebook or just holding this ipad. So whenever, I can’t go check EF, it’s because he’s home or we’re out to spend some time together. Taking time off is indeed important. When with family and friends, set aside these smart phones and do the basic – TALK! 🙂


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