Can you go 24 hours without any tech?

National Day of Unplugging asks you to go on a tech detox for 24 hours. Crave's chief correspondent is taking the plunge. Will you?

Screenshot by Bonnie Cha/CNET

Not to sound like an old lady, but back in my day, when I wanted to hang out with friends, I'd call them up on a landline phone. Dinners out never involved a group of four or five people looking down at their phones or checking into a social network, and if I had a paper to write for school, I'd go to the library and do the research using -- gasp -- books!

Of course, today, that's all changed with the rise of the Internet and devices like smartphones and tablets. There's no doubt technology has enriched our lives in so many ways, but it's also created a culture in which we're often more consumed with our gadgets and the digital world than we are with real people and the outside world. So what would you do if you didn't have access to any of your gadgets? Care to find out?

Reboot, a nonprofit group whose mission is to "reboot" cultures, traditions, and rituals in the Jewish tradition of Sabbath (a day of rest), is asking people to take a break from tech for 24 hours by participating in a National Day of Unplugging.

Now in its third year of celebration, National Day of Unplugging 2012 starts at sunset on March 23 and ends at sunset on March 24, and Reboot encourages participants to use the 24-hour tech detox as time to reconnect with friends and family, go outside, focus on your health, give back, meditate, and more.

I've written before that I'm all for taking the time to unplug. I'm pretty good about not checking my smartphone when I'm out with friends, but I'm making more of a conscious effort not to be tethered to it at other times too, like when I'm at home or on the bus.

That said, I still use it a lot to check e-mail and my social networks -- and my newfound obsession with Draw Something is definitely not helping the cause. Also, when I come home, I instantly turn on the TV -- sometimes I don't even watch it, I just like having it on in the background. Obviously, I could do a lot more to unplug, which is why I've decided to take the pledge.

Screenshot by Bonnie Cha/CNET

Reboot doesn't explicitly define what unplugging means, simply stating "find the balance that works for you" and leaving it up to participants to decide. I'll be turning off my phone, laptop, and TV. I don't think I'll have any problems being without TV and my laptop, but I am a little nervous being sans smartphone for 24 hours (crap, maybe I truly am nomophobic). I've got several plans this weekend, so it's going to be interesting coordinating with friends without my smartphone.

I also love, love, love music, and am not sure how I'll survive without it (I suppose I'll have to resort to serenading myself in the shower).

I'll be chronicling my adventures this weekend (with pen and paper, of course), so check back Monday to see if I survived National Day of Unplugging. If you want to participate yourself, you can take the pledge here. Also, let us know in the comments section below if you plan to or not and why.

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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