Archives for : digital detox


I’m delighted to report that in Full Cort Press’ staring contest with Granville High, the good guys have triumphed. Granville blinked, Full Cort is reinstated, and her school-wide Digital Detox idea has even been greenlighted—it’s scheduled for Wednesday.

It’s a small victory on the scale of things; but it’s a reminder of a principle we need to reaffirm every now and then. That old paranoid refrain—“Who watches the watchmen?”—has an answer: we do. They may stalk us and harass us and intrude on our privacy, but we can face them down and hold them to account. We won’t always win…but we’ll never win if we don’t fight.

Let the battle continue.


The urge to stay constantly connected has overtaken our culture. People talk about addiction to their phones—but what if it’s more an addiction to consumption? What if spending all day chatting on social media and cruising news sites is no different from compulsive shopping, or bingeing on junk food? And for those of us who consider ourselves digital watchdogs, is our complete immersion in the safeguarding of liberty paradoxically robbing us of real agency in our own lives?

I’m always telling people to wake up and look around them—to see what’s really going on in their own backyards. We can’t change the world by pointing and clicking alone—we need to engage with other people, in real time, in real space. So I’m giving props today to a couple of new movements that are aimed at restoring balance to the postmillennial life. Chief among these is a National Day of Unplugging coming up in March 2015. You can begin “training” for it by hitching onto the Digital Detox movement—which actually hosts retreats, if you’ve never gotten over your grade-school camping days. Or you can host your own, more localized Unplug Day like blogger Full Cort Press is proposing at Granville High School.

Me, I’d go nuts a full day without my phone. And someone’s got to be on deck, in case the Feds choose National Unplugging Day to abolish the Constitution and set up an imperial monarchy or something. But for the rest of you: the choice—as always—is entirely yours.


Full Cort Press, the high school blogger whose savvy and spirit have given me some much-needed hope for GenNext, is one week into her self-imposed digital detox—and instead of merely articulating the many ways in which it’s altered the pace and pattern of her days, she has, characteristically, found a way to make it beneficial for others as well. She’s linked to The UNICEF Tap Project, which ingeniously turns your minutes away from your cell phone into clean water for Third World children. I’ve downloaded the app myself. For one of my three phones, anyway. Yeah, I’m gonna be a tough nut to crack.


Full Cort Press, the high school blogger whose clear-eyed post about Facebook impressed me last week, just took it up notch. Appalled by the expulsion of a student who refused to surrender his phone after being caught texting in class, FCP made a token nod to civil liberties (which is where the rest of us freedom lovers would have planted our flags), then changed tack and wondered at the severity of an addiction that prompts a student to place his entire education in jeopardy. Recognizing that her generation is particularly afflicted, FCP has put herself on a full digital detox—liberating herself from the machines that had become her master. (And yeah, she does recognize the irony of announcing this in a blog post.) I’ll keep you apprised of her progress.