Let's start a no gadget day in 2014

Let's start a no gadget day in 2014

Summary: One day a week let's put the mobile gadgets away and relate to one another.

No Gadget Day (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Imagine this unlikely scene: 30 or 40 people in a small room talking to another. When you look closer you realize what's out of place — there are no laptops, tablets, not even a single smartphone in hand. You can't remember the last time you saw a group of family members and friends engaged in such a way, with all gadgets put away.

This has happened to me twice this week. A death in the family brought family members together with friends to mourn the passing of a fine lady.

It was a difficult week but for the engagement with one other. We were able to catch up on each other's lives, discuss our passions, relive old times. It was a strong experience, and stronger than it might have been as there was not a single electronic interruption over these three days. Phones were silenced and put away and bigger gadgets were left at home.

I've always tried to step away from the gadgets from time to time, but it can be hard to do regularly. The experience this week has convinced me that it is important for our mental health to have a weekly no gadget day. Leave the devices in a box at the beginning of the day and do without them. The theme should be face-to-face interaction with those around us. No interruptions by the bings and bongs of a cell phone. Simple conversation is the goal, the way it used to be.

Family night would be much richer if no one had a gadget nearby. No checking text messages, no phone calls, nothing. Just talking to those closest to us about their lives, dreams, passions, and plans. In other words relating to one another.

No doubt many of us would raise objections to this day without electronics. What if there was an emergency? How would people get hold of me?

The answer is simple: they did it before the appearance of cell phones, and they'd do it again. Sometimes sacrifices are required for the greater good, and this might be one of those times.

It shouldn't take a sad event like the passing of a loved one, but that's what it took for me. So let's turn that learning into a positive thing and make a no gadget day at home and work. It could be the most significant thing we do in 2014 for our collective mental health.

See related:

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • +1

    Good decision James.
    Ram U
    • Families won't function without gadgets

      While the parents are busy texting on their phones, the children spend most of their time jumping up and down and yelling, trying to gain their parents' attention.

      The children would be forced to change their entire personalities if the parents had no gadgets.

      And I don't like the idea of no gadgets. It would mean I would have to use my brain, and that feels like it would be too much work.
  • Sure

    I'll mark the day on my Blackberry, how does January 34th sound?
  • NO

    Instead, learn self control.
  • Sounds like...

    Sounds like the perfect day for range night... spend some time together and target practice at the range
    • Shooting?

      Here's the proof.

      It people didn't occupy themselves with gadgets, they'd be out there using more guns instead.
      • But shooting guns at a range

        Is the proper and responsible place to use a gun and learn about gun safety. Are you saying you have a problem with people used ranges?
        Sam Wagner
      • yeah, better to just have a meth lab

        as opposed to going to a gun range.

        Not sure of what you're getting at , Vbitrate.
        • Lighten up...

          It was a joke. See his previous comment above.
  • Gotta Have Gadgets....

    Gadgets are fun, Gadgets keep life interesting. But seriously where would we be without them. Some are essential for everyday computing activities. Bluetooth everything. Oh that beautiful Bose Soundlink. Best Gadget EVER.
  • Find a coversation group

    I go to a local cigar store where we as a group decided against having T.V. in the shop. This has promoted great conversations throughout the years. My wife and I are technology advocates and we spend every meal together without our gadgets. It's all about self control, the gadgets don't make it impossible to communicate, personalities are mostly to blame.
    • Control...

      It is about setting rules so the family can put some easy control on gadgets.
      Off during mealtimes, off in the car and for younger family members at bedtime the phones go to the grandmother's bedroom for charging until the next morning.
      Even then, more should be done. My phone sits on the desk and is rarely in my pocket at home...and if it rings and I choose not to hear the ring then so be it...call back in an hour.
      • Control

        Or better yet, leave a voicemail. I'll decide later if and when we need to talk.
    • Mmm...

      And you don't see the weird conflict between decrying gadgets at a *cigar* store by suggesting that people don't have enough self-control?
      The Werewolf!
  • no gadgets once a week already being done by about 1.5 million people

    Orthodox Jews do not use gadgets from Friday evening until Saturday evening. @7 times a year they will go 2 days in a row and at least once a year they will go 3 days in a row without gadgets, depending on which Holiday surrounds a weekend. They get along quite nicely without the gadgets.
    Remember the concerns of what would happen to computers at midnight Jan 1 2000? They didn't care as it was a Friday night anyway.
  • You know...

    This was the ACTUAL point to "Warm Bodies"
    The Werewolf!
  • reallly, what is todays topic...how sick people are...

    i will use gadget when i need it i won't use it when i don't need it.

    and i need when i need to check online for some info or driving directions or similar.

    i won't use it to obsessively click on my facebook app to see if someone messaged me in last 15 minutes.
  • Why would I go a day without my gadgets?

    I couldn't even tweet about my suffering!
    • No meal sharing?

      or upload photos of your meals!
  • Great idea....for those with a lack of discipline or real world connections

    Quite a number of us have integrated gadgets into our lives to complement them, not dominate them. Perhaps you might consider a support group to help you do the same without the need for a crash "diet" if it is creating such a problem for you.