Unplugged: A teen tries a tech-free day

November 03, 2009|By DEVON JACOBS / Pulse correspondent

o Technology take-over: Can teens survive?

I wanted to see if I could live without technology for a day. I considered the "no-technology" challenge and realized if I wanted to do the challenge completely, I would have to cut out everything I used that served me for some purpose.

Technology is everywhere. From the toilet we use, to the pencils we write with. Running water, computers, cell phones, shoes, clothing, and even chairs. It is all technology.

My challenge had to be severely limited. I only cut out mechanical pencils and in place of it I used wooden pencils; I swapped the bus for walking, and made sure not to use anything powered by a battery.


My day was fairly easy when I only took out the "wanted" technology and not the "needed" technology. Society could not function without most of the technology created to suit our needs. And I found I was able to cope without difficulty.

Now, if I had decided to take out every ounce of technology in my life, I could basically do nothing or use nothing.

My day began slightly stressed. My cell phone serves as my alarm clock. I either had to rely on my brain to wake me up, or I would have to ask my parents to wake me up. And because I was walking to school, I had to rise early in the morning.

I prepared everything I needed the night before so that would not have any problems in the morning. Luckily, I rose on my own at 6:09 a.m. I grabbed an apple as my breakfast, I brushed my teeth (using a tooth brush; I could not eliminate that) and then I set out to school. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to walk to school that morning.

Because I go to Washington County Technical High School, I could not walk from Clear Spring to Hagerstown, only from my home to Clear Spring, so I cheated and took the bus to Tech High (I really had no choice.)

During time at school, I did not use the computers or mechanical pencils. I didn't bring my cell phone to school so I did not have to worry about that.

The day went by without a hitch. I went home, again riding the bus, and from there I still did not stop my challenge. I had my daily chores to attend to, and I needed technology to do them (running water, trash cans/bags, electricity), but I did not use computers or anything else made possible through technology.

The day finally ended, and after my nightly shower, I was outside for just a small amount of time. I could not watch TV, play on the computer or use my cell phone. It was rather peaceful, but after this "no-technology" challenge, I realized how much our society runs on technology.

How would our society function without all the technology today? Could we do our jobs? Could we buy and sell? Could we take care of our daily needs? Could we educate comprehensively? The answer is, no, probably not.

Just maybe, we could hunt for our food, but what would we use to hunt with that wasn't technology? Sure, we could do our jobs but if we had no technology, what would our jobs be doing for us and how would we do them? Possibly we could take care of our needs like using the bathroom, but using the restroom would be out of the question and we would be returning to the great outdoors. Do you see my point?

Technology is very important in our modern world. If we had no technology, well, we would not have a society.

I challenge everyone who reads this to take my challenge. Try living without excess technology -not necessary, but desired technology for at least a day. It would help you appreciate what you have, even if it's not much.

Devon Jacobs, 16, is a sophomore at Washington County Technical High School. She bikes eight miles a day.

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