No Texting, No E-Mail, No Internet...

"After reading and discussing in class a New York Times article describing another middle school’s attempt to forsake digital communication for a brief period, my 8th-grade glass conducted their own five-day experiment. On a voluntary basis, students tallied their social-media use for three days, keeping careful count of all cell phone, texting, instant messaging, and Facebook use. After three days of tracking, the students attempted to go cold-turkey and abstain from all digital communication for two days. More than half of the thirty-two 8th graders volunteered to be part of the experiment. Though 15 students kept records of their usage with the intention of abstaining for two days, only 4 students succeeded in being digitally free for two days…. For most who participated in the experiment, including myself, Mrs. Di Paolo and Mr. Cooper, it was clear that all of us rely on social networking for work and play more than we realized and it was much more difficult to give up than we had imagined…. Though the experiment seemed to have little impact on the use of social media for these young people, it did raise their awareness of its power." ~Ms. Bower, 8th Grade History Teacher

A few student responses:

“After finishing all my homework during the day, by Sunday night I was really bored.…Not wanting to read or study, I turned on my computer, two hours went by and then I went to bed.” ~BK

“As I was in the car, I heard my phone receiving text messages, I told myself not to pick up the phone but I became unimaginably bored and had to listen to music so I picked up my phone.” ~IO

"I was pretty good all day Sunday, until I remembered my good friend's birthday. I couldn't not text him because I didn't want him to think I had forgotten his birthday. From there it went downhill. I texted him, followed by texting more people." ~PG

"The day continued with me almost going on social media websites, until I decided to step away from my laptop completely. Now that I was free of the temptation, I found I had a lot more free time in my day that I didn’t know what to do with. I realized how much time was taken out of my day talking to people on AIM or checking my e-mail every five minutes, even though I knew I wouldn’t be receiving e-mails that frequently." ~LW

"You don’t realize how much you are on your phone or computer until you can’t use it. It was an interesting experience.” ~CD

“Not using social networking sites hasn’t bothered me at all. I am a very busy person in general and don’t have a lot of time to socialize….The hardest part was not checking me e-mail, but it was manageable. I just worked on a science project, did homework and worked at my temple as a teacher’s assistant this weekend. That’s basically it.” ~SK