Breaking Up Too Easy to Do

It was with a tinge of sadness that the Unplug & Reconnect team read about a recent survey in which more than a third of adults said they would use technology –– such as social media, email, or text messages – to end a romantic relationship.

All we can say is “ouch.”

The survey was conducted by Lab42, a market research company that focuses on social media. Lab42 surveyed 550 people over the age of 18 and found that of those surveyed, 40 percent said they would use technology to break up a romantic relationship if they ever found it necessary.

It probably should come as no surprise that many people today find ending a relationship via technology a natural thing to do. After all, many of today’s relationships begin via technology – such as text messages or emails to plan a date or Facebook “statuses” proclaiming the relationship to be real.

Still, many would argue that a breakup via technology is cowardly, heartless and less than classy. And while we’re not here to pass similar judgment, we would like to say that there’s a time and a place when real human contact trumps technology. Delivering bad news, especially news that is likely to hurt another person, is usually one of those times.



Magazine: How We Unplugged

Hot off the newsstands this week is the latest issue of Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly “Family First” section, with a feature story describing the experiences of some of those who chose to Unplug & Reconnect on Sunday, Oct. 2, the “Day to Disconnect.”

The publication, which reaches more than 250,000 readers, reports that tens of thousands of hours were devoted to unplugging from technology on this one day, with participants spending that time reconnecting with the people and events that are meaningful to them. The initiative was conceived by Ohr Naava, a Brooklyn-based women’s organization, and sponsored by Ohr Naava and Unplug and Reconnect.

“From the start, there was a natural synergy between Unplug and Reconnect and . . . Day to Disconnect,” says Dr. Joseph Geliebter, founder of Unplug and Reconnect. “Unplug and Reconnect brought a greater emphasis on ‘reconnecting’ to the disconnect mission.”

While event organizers anticipated that businesspeople and teens would be the among the most “wired,” of event participants, they were surprised to learn that oftentimes it was young mothers who confessed to being the most plugged in, according to Mishpacha. “Many of them found cutting the tie to their cell phones surprisingly more liberating than constraining,” Mishpacha reported. One mother told the magazine, “I never thought of myself as too obsessed with technology, but evidently I’ve been stuck pretty deep. I was so excited to spend three hours with myself and my family and found myself happier those few hours and definitely more patient with those around me.”

Overwhelmingly, people pledged hours away from technology in pursuit of family activities – whether it was spending time with a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents. Poignantly, one father reported, “I played with my two-and-a-half-year-old son and for the first time ever, I gave him my full attention!”

Addicted to Technology

Many participants in Day to Disconnect recognized that they might be addicted to technology. One young man told Mishpacha that after disconnecting for four hours, he realized that his cell phone had become like “a drug, an addiction, one I can’t stop. Whenever I’m interacting with other people and my pocket vibrates, even if I don’t look into my pocket, I’m far more curious what e-mail, text, or [BlackBerry message] I just received than what the person I’m talking to is saying.”

Indeed, we’re so enamored of our cell phones that many of us even sleep with these devices under our pillows, the magazine noted. One young woman opted to disconnect from her cell phone at midnight, moving her cell phone far from her bedroom. “. . . When I woke up . . . I felt refreshed and invigorated, since I actually slept a full eight hours. No disturbing texts stealing my REM sleep, no vibrating phone beneath my pillow, just a deep revitalizing sleep,” she reported.

Still disconnected later that day, this same young woman discovered what organizers of Day to Disconnect had hoped participants would realize: “I found it’s possible to communicate without my communication devices,” she said.





Check Your Tech at the Door

Have you ever indulged in the great pastime of watching old Westerns? Inevitably it gets to the part where the protagonist or “good guy” is about to enter a saloon where the black-hatted bad guy is waiting for him with his cronies.

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