A day without technology?
“It would be extremely hard. It’s always there, ” said freshman Kayla Brown.
“I couldn’t. I’d be really bored and wouldn’t know what to do,” sophomore Kelly Herr, said emphatically.
“That would be hard since it’s everywhere. It would be very tempting,” said freshman Nick Charles.
Twenty four hours without any iPods or music of any kind, no computers, no Facebook or television or news. A reporter from Lancaster Intelligencer Journal challenged us to go a full day without the use of any of the mentioned electronics.
She said it would be a good experience and a good writing exercise.
We were nervous. We were skeptical. We were unsure.
One authority, the Kaiser Family Foundation, that tracks these kind of trends, reports that children ages 8-18 use technology for more than seven and-a-half hours a day.
Seven and-a-half at the least, we thought.
But we did it.
With a journal in our hands at all times, we kept track of how we got through the grueling experience.
The first few hours of the day, it really didn’t make as much of a difference because we were in school.
School policy does not allow cell phones, iPods or access to social networking, although most students usually find some way during school to connect to the outside world.
But not for us, not this day.
“I’m not feeling too different yet because I don’t usually use my phone and iPod a lot during school. Right now, I’m just focusing on planning to find things to occupy my time tonight.” – Mike Nitroy 10:26 a.m.
“It hasn’t really affected me yet except that I keep reaching for my phone to check the time and it’s not there.” – Lindsey Ostrum, 11:01 a.m.
But after lunch, we were surrounded by computers in journalism class. It was difficult not to take a peek at those brightly colored screens all around us. They were calling us. They knew our names.
It seemed so inefficient to spend the time it would take to get out a pen and look endlessly for a piece of paper when others could just turn their computers on.
They were all busy typing away while we sat technology-less and empty.
“I’m so bored, Mike and I are playing tic-tac-toe, and making M.A.S.H notes. The boredom is really starting to sink in.” – Ostrum, 12:21 p.m.
“Lindsey and I played so much tic-tac-toe that we had more draws than anything because we figured out how to play so you don’t lose.” – Nitroy, 12:37 p.m.
The real test of endurance and temptation started as we stepped inside our houses. Our technology-loving families filled the house with sounds of their favorite TV shows.
“I’ve decided to choose eating in order to pass the time right now, but no worries, I have a high metabolism. Watching my neighbor mow her lawn is almost like TV, right? I watched her push her Craftsman lawn mower around and around as it lowered the two-inch-tall grass. Down the hill and the up the hill, down the hill and up the hill. It was mesmerizing for a whole four minutes.” – Nitroy, 3:10 p.m.
“I feel so lazy just laying around, but I have no clue what to do. I could read but I finished my book and I need to find another new book that I can read for hours. But, that will never happen. Harry Potter’s over.” – Ostrum, 3:35 p.m.
As the day progressed, things weren’t looking up.
“I’m running out of things to do. My attempt at cleaning my room was an utter failure. I picked up my Coldplay shirt off my chair. Just looking at it hit me in the face reminding me of this horrible day. I thought about taking it down to the laundry room, but I just can’t get motivated without listening to music.” – Ostrum, 5:25 p.m.
“I just played the piano, which I haven’t in forever. I couldn’t remember what was flat and what was sharp. I had to mow the grass without my iPod and it really was not enjoyable. It seemed as if it took five times longer than with music.” – Nitroy, 5:30 p.m.
“I had color guard practice after 6:30.It distracted me for a while, but then when I thought about coming home I got depressed remembering about how boring it was going to be. As other members talked about recent photos on Facebook, my thoughts went to how I would check them out, but all I could do is watch my mom on Facebook. ” – Ostrum, 7:44 p.m.
As the sun went down, so did the amount of things we could find to do.
“I’ve never played so many board games in one day. I’m extremely bored. No pun intended. Scrabble and Boggle with my mom made the time pass. A little.” – Nitroy, 8:02 p.m.
“This is killing me. Death by the eighteenth century. Not being able to listen to music all day is like telling a kid with chicken pox not to scratch themselves.”- Ostrum, 8:20 p.m.
When we couldn’t think of anything else, there was only one thing left to do.
“I’m officially going to bed almost an hour early because there is just nothing left that I can find to do. This whole no-technology thing got old fast.” – Nitroy, 9:35 p.m.
“I tried to fall asleep earlier than I usually do, but since I did pretty much nothing all day, I couldn’t get tired.” – Ostrum, 9:55 p.m.
We woke up. It felt like Christmas as we sprinted for our phones and turned on the radio to full volume.
Twenty four hours later, the positives were slim but they did exist.
Spending time with families, being more focused on homework and revisiting old activities were just some of the productive things we experienced.
But even acknowledging that, we came to one obvious conclusion.
We love technology.
By Mike Nitroy and Lindsey Ostrum