Friday, March 1, 2013

Digital Detox

I have long bemoaned the negative effect of modern technology on the modern human, not just in terms of dating but also in terms of our general ability to communicate honestly and face-to-face.  (Ironically, I am writing about what is now being called "Internet Addiction Disorder" on-line to a virtual audience.)

Haaretz recently released some more alarming statistics that only justify my stubborn Luddite stance:
44% of Americans sleep with their mobile device next to their bed, for fear of "missing something"
46% of Israeli children aged 12-14 watch online videos daily
11% of Israelis have been defined as addicted to surfing the web
75% of secular Israelis and 23% of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel surf the web every day
25% of owners of mobile devices answer phone calls in the middle of sex

The article explains that it is most difficult to "kick the Internet habit...because we live in a society based on instant gratification and on fear...[we think that] maybe we can live forever, if only we create for ourselves a sufficiently rich and distinctive virtual identity."

The author then makes the most compelling argument of all in favor of an all-around Digital Detox program:  "If we know that we can document everything all the are we supposed to enjoy the moment?...If a tree falls in the forest and no one photographs it for Instagram, did it really fall?"

This program is in fact based upon the Jewish model of the Sabbath, in which all humans disconnect from the net for one day per week;  it also recommends withdrawal during the rest of the week, including banning phones from meals and personal encounters.  Apparently, a solid hug replaces the hormone rush that Internet addicts experience from tech abuse.

I spent much of my New York pre-Israel life engaged in planning and anticipating, that I could not live IN THE NOW.  And while I am certainly guilty of a certain level of over-documenting mine and my child's life, I have vastly improved my ability to shed that need to control and enjoy the smaller moments of the adventure.


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Doc said...

You assume that the pictures and information on these websites are truthful and accurate; the web has given us all permission to 'stretch' reality.