Oct. 2: One Million Unplugging Hours

Pledge to Disconnect on Sunday Oct. 2nd!

Imagine finishing that bestseller you started in June . . . or finally teaching your child to ride a bicycle. How about trying out that new recipe . . . or going for a walk with a friend?  Just think of the things you could do with even one extra hour!

Unplug & Reconnect is asking people to pledge part of their day, all day, just a few hours, or even just one hour, on Sunday, Oct. 2, unplugged from technology so that they reconnect with the people and events that are important to them. The goal is to raise 1,000,000 Unplugging hours on that one day.

Registering your hours is easy. Visit our registration page and complete our simple registration form. While you’re at it, ask your family and friends to join you as you unplug from technology.

Unplug and Reconnect has partnered with Ohr Naava, a Brooklyn based Jewish women’s organization and the originator of the ‘Day To Disconnect’ campaign, to create awareness of our current state of digital overload and to find a balance between our technology-laden, multi tasking selves and our creative, emotional and spiritual needs, to benefit from one while sustaining the other.

If you need further inspiration, check out the video below. Produced by Ohr Naava, it holds universal appeal to anyone who has found themselves trapped by technology.

 

And the Winners Are . . .

unplug reconnect forest sceneThe results of our Unplug & Reconnect Labor Day contest are in . . . and the winners are Patrick Ross of Virginia (first place) and Lori Quiller of Alabama (second place).

Patrick escaped to the dense forest of Shenandoah National Park, where he took in the wonders of nature and occasionally found himself bemused by the plugged-in antics of his family members and technology-addicted fellow campers. You can read Patrick’s essay soon.

Meanwhile, our second-place winner, Lori, described the cacophony of street sounds she finally heard, like music to her ears, once she put away her iPod. Lori even managed to avoid a loose manhole cover she might not have noticed while plugged into her iPod! Her essay will also appear here later in the week.

Patrick and Lori each won their choice of a Lo-Tech Survival Kit as their prize. Patrick, a part-time journalist and MFA student, chose our “Family Fun Night” gift choice, which includes dinner for four, four board games, and a dessert-making kit. Lori, who recently became unemployed, plans to treat her parents to a “Family Fun Night” as a way of thanking them for their support.

A third winner, Bracha Hammer Finman of Far Rockaway, NY, an occupational therapy consultant, also won a Lo-Tech Survival Kit in our raffle for all contest entrants, including those who liked Unplug & Reconnect on Facebook or followed us on Twitter. She will receive a  getaway package that includes a $200 Jet Blue gift certificate and a carry-on travel bag.

Making an escape to nature was a popular way to unplug for many of our contestants.

Amber, of Brooklyn, N.Y., described how she and her family fled technology by camping out in an Alaskan barn this summer. Out in the wilderness, she forgot about email as she considered more important things, like close encounters with bears (not to worry; Amber’s mom, a bear-attack veteran – knows just what to do!)

Visiting his “river sanctuary” in Iowa, Mike Wilson was reminded that despite the advances of civilization, he is still a “human animal” touched by the “primal feel of sun, water and wind.”

The contest elicited a poem from Ana Espinal, who observed:

“As I sat in a crowded restaurant with my food and my Nook,/

Who needs to socialize when one has this, that and Facebook?”

Many of our contestants, forced to unplug by power outages wrought by Hurricane Irene found to their surprise that they enjoyed the brief respite from technology. They lit candles at the dinner table, went on nature walks, and played board games with their families for the first time in years.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest. We hope you found the experience of unplugging and writing about it as rewarding as we did. Be sure to check back next week to read the winning essays!

Disconnecting From Social Media in a Few Easy Steps

The two most popular social networking sites Facebook (750 million  users) and Twitter (200 million users) offer you ways to deactivate, hide, or downgrade your accounts. Facebook offers a few ways to distance yourself from it, become less dependent. You can start by turning off the notifications to your email, deleting the application from your smartphone, or even go as far as deactivating your account. Deactivating your account just means that you’re “turning off” until you’re ready to use it again.

 

 

Here are five easy steps on how to deactivate your Facebook account.

  1. Click Account on the top left of your page.
  2. Go to Account Settings.
  3. Select the Security tab
  4. On the bottom of the page you’ll find the button to deactivate your account. Click it.

5.   Scroll to the bottom of the next page and click confirm.

 

Don’t be fooled! Facebook will try to lure you into staying with a notice saying “Are you sure your want to deactivate your account?,” accompanied by pictures of loved ones, to convince you to stay active on Facebook. You should probably give your loved ones a call and see them in person instead!

The process to deactivate your Twitter account is similar to Facebook’s. Start by turning off notifications and weaning yourself gradually. If that doesn’t work, deactivate your account.

 

Four Simple steps to deactivate your Twitter account.

  1. Click on your name in the top right corner
  2. Click Settings
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page where there is a “Deactivate My Account” button and select it.
  4. On the next page, confirm that you want to deactivate

Social networking is an amazing way to stay in touch with friends and family, close and long distance. The problem arises when it is used as the only means of communicating with people. Allowing social networking sites to monopolize your communication methods is a slippery slope, as it can easily become your default form of communication, to the total exclusion of face-to-face interaction. Don’t let yourself get too attached!

 

Ten Years Later

 

Each one of us has our own memories of 9/11. On that day strangers became friends and neighbors, and in the silence and the chaos we instinctively sought contact with one another. Unable to reach our loved ones, we recognized the importance of connecting. This Sunday, ten years later, connect with your loved ones in every way you can.

Today, we looked back at the impact of those moments described in the Mind Over Body 9/11 Special Issue.

Click here to view the newsletter: Mind Over Body Newsletter: 9/11 & Children’s Health

 

 

‘Disconnect and Enjoy’ Video

Here is a video from our partners at Day to Disconnect showing exactly why it’s important to Unplug and Reconnect! While you prepare for the Labor Day weekend (and write your Unplugging and Reconnecting essay!) we hope this motivates you to really take the time on this last great holiday weekend of the summer to turn off the tech devices and focus on yourself, your family and friends.

In partnership with Ohr Naava, a Brooklyn based women’s organization and the originator of the ‘Day To Disconnect’ campaign, we will be helping to raise 1,000,000 Unplugging hours on Sunday, October 2, 2011. Look forward to details after the Labor Day contest.

Forty-two percent of Americans use their cellphones to combat boredom.  Fifty-three percent of our population owns a smart phone. It seems with each additional innovation, we are  increasingly stripped of our ability to simply live our lives. When social interaction becomes awkward, we pull out our cell phones and pretend to text so as to avoid human contact.  Our loved ones are ignored as we attend whatever urgent business technology presents. E-mails continue to flood our inboxes.  In the United States, we may be advancing technologically, but we are losing sight of how to grow as beings among other beings.

Enjoy your holiday weekend and we hope you’ll spend it with those you love!