Students Attempt To Give Up Technology for a Week and Mostly Fail

A professor at the University of Central Florida challenged her students to unplug and live a technology-free life for five days, and most discovered they were incapable of doing so. "It's something I'm doing to get us in touch with where our humanity is," said faculty member Mary Ann Murdoch in coverage in the Orlando-Sentinel. "Are they really in charge of these devices, or are all these devices in charge of them?"

Only two of 26 students in Murdoch's English composition class were able to relinquish cell phones, iPods, portable CD players, text messaging, e-mail, computers, TVs, DVDs, and video games. The rest conceded that they were dependent on technology.

Some, including Dave DeGiovanni, didn't bother trying. "It's just pointless," he declared in the Sentinel article.

Most students gave in to boredom. Early in the assignment, "some took naps or went to bed early," according to the article. "Anything, they said, to fill the void." A few caught up on homework and cleaned their dorm rooms. But it didn't take long for most to succumb to the allure of a cellphone or text message.

"You don't realize how much you're getting sucked into it until you step out of it, and that was the whole purpose of this thing," Murdoch is quoted as saying. "Maybe in the future, when they get older, maybe they'll think about this and say, 'Hey, maybe I am too available, I need to unplug.'"

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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