Technology-Free Family Lives to Tell the Tale

by Liz Colville

A mother of three from England was so fed up with her children’s obsession with technology — specifically, gaming, social networks and the Internet at large — that she ordered the whole family to go on a technology-free diet for six months (the kids were allowed to use gadgets at school and friends’ houses). They made it out alive, and the kids, who are all teenagers, actually report that they didn’t really mind those long, dark days, in the end. What they did do during the time is pretty impressive and intellectual-sounding, which shows how long I have been nourished solely by the glow of screens.

They cooked.
They read Haruki Murakami.
They studied in libraries.
They talked to each other.
They went on “outings.”
Including the cinema [movie theater].
And restaurants.

One of the daughters, however, couldn’t handle the withdrawal and moved in with her dad for the first six weeks of the experiment. Sussy!!!! (That’s her name.) But eventually she got over it and came home. Once home, she “found her erratic sleep patterns eradicated” by the lack of screen time.

Their smart mom/mum, who is also a media ecologist, and therefore sort of using her children as guinea pigs, also likened the access to technology to snacking:

I draw the parallel to never really being hungry…They snack so much that they’re not ready for a proper meal. That lack of boundaries, that ‘blobbiness’ … it’s not a good way to live.

Blobbiness! To me it seems like more of a kind of sallow sinewiness for which sunlight and nutrients do little.

Things went a bit Walden-y and lovely for the family. Then they went back to technology, but in moderation. Then they moved to Long Island. The end.