I recently came across an article published this summer in the New York Times that profiles Camp Grounded in Navarro, CA, a three-day summer camp for adults. Campers relinquish their phones, computers, tablets and watches. There is no television. Furthermore, campers are not allowed to discuss their work or ages and each camper has a “camp name.” Camp diet is gluten-free and vegan. Camp Grounded is a creation of Digital Detox an Oakland based group that offers tech-free retreats. Their motto is “Disconnect to reconnect.”
There’s something to be said for taking a tech break now and then in order to recharge. I know that part of what I find so profoundly relaxing about a vacation at the beach is that I wind up spending very little time in front of a screen and don’t pay attention to the clock. Instead, I read, walk, cook and just watch the water. Many experts today suggest creating a tech-free zone in one’s home. This may not be desirable to everyone, or even possible for some, but it’s certainly something to think about.
A recent article by Jay Turner of Georgia Public Libraries Continuing Education and Training discusses a keynote address delivered by Stacey Aldrich who is the Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Among the areas of future technology that libraries may be involved with, Aldrich suggests that libraries may soon provide not only access to all sorts of technology but also to tech-free areas in which users will engage in “self-reflection or face-to-face communication with others.” And a 2011 article from American Libraries magazine discusses the possibility of libraries offering gadget-free zones and whether or not library patrons would use and appreciate these.
Where do you stand on the tech-free question? Do you provide yourself with “digital breaks” or do you like to stay wired?
If you’d like to do some reading on the effects and future of digital culture, try these titles available from DCPL.
- Alone Together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkel.
- The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains by Nicholas Carr.
- Born Digital: understanding the first generation of digital natives by John Plafrey and Urs Gasser