Published on May 15, 2014 | by Karina Starobina

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How I Spent My Weekend Offline

Think about it, when have you spent a whole day offline? Without Facebooking, Whatsapping, Instagraming, Tweeting or whatever other social networking activity you are into nowadays. When was the last time you did something without any trace of your activity online? Is it even possible anymore?

Multitasking

Social networking and media multitasking are two main concepts of nowadays’ society [Flickr:Robby Mueller]

So I did it. I spent a whole weekend offline: I turned off my phone, my laptop, my iPad and even my iPod. Upon researching ‘technology detoxes’, I was surprised to find out there are actually special venues in the UK where you pay something like £200 to stay away from technology and do yoga in the countryside. I chose the free self-made version of a detox.

First tip for a successful technology detox: don’t forget to warn your parents or they might go a bit crazy if they can’t reach you this instant. My mom even asked me to call her from the phone booth. I can’t even remember last time I used one of these, or found one that actually worked.

So I started my Saturday without checking social networks or texting someone about last night. I was completely alone with myself which was a weird feeling indeed. People don’t realise we are never really alone anymore. The very second you are left alone you turn to your phone and check out some meaningless information your friends posted online. Or we use social media to validate ourselves and our decisions by asking people we don’t really care about to ‘Like’ what we’re doing.

Go Outside sign

Old-fashion ways to communicate seem to have been lost along the way

When you don’t have a phone with you, time management actually becomes a thing. It’s not like you can be late for a meeting with your friend – you can’t call them millions of times or cancel half an hour before – you set a meeting place and you’ve got to get there.

For me it was a bit tricky without Google maps as I recently moved in London and don’t really know my way around. I was pleasantly surprised that there are so many helpful maps on the streets with a mark “You are here” – I guess you just don’t need them when you’re following the little blue dot on your phone, showing you the optimal route.

I went to a dinner party Saturday evening phoneless. It felt liberating, no one knew where I was and no one could contact me. I was the only one who could ‘initiate contact’ by walking up to my friend’s homes and just hoping they were in.

When you are off your phone you actually realise how wired in everyone is. Every five minutes someone takes out a phone, just nervously checking for any updates or texts, or taking photos of food an immediately posting them on Instagram. There is this awkward moment when you are telling a story and in the middle of it a person just blanks out answering a text or looking at cat videos on Youtube. We are quickly becoming a society of addicts in constant need of idle occupation. We are never alone and at the same when we’re with other people you are never actually with them because of a constant need to stare at a little or big screen.

My Sunday was spent cycling and reading a book in a park. Believe it or not but my brain was free from so much unneeded information: no selfies, no other people’s opinions on any subjects. You actually go out, meet people and think about things without sharing it with the Internet.

Over-reliance on our phones and technology in general has meant we’ve lost types of communication that were much more personal, like a handwritten note. Do you actually know what you’re any of your friends’ hand writing looks like?

Research is finding that kids who were born in the age of constant connection and communication have trouble recognising human emotions, like happiness and sadness. Because today you’d rather text than call, send an emoji than meet up and talk.

I truly believe that social networks have discovered the inner narcissistic sociopath in each of us. So switch off more, and interact with real humans instead of a touch screen.

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