You're Grounded From Technology
May 6, 2013

You’re Grounded From Technology

How difficult would it be for you to disconnect? I am not talking about just turn your phone off for an hour. No, I mean really disconnect as in check in your phone and computer and tablet and whatever other digital device and not have access to it for 48 hours. Could you detox your digital life for an entire weekend?

Well, for participants of a new summer camp in northern California called Camp Grounded, that is just what they will do: check in their devices and check out nature, activities, and each other. CNN explained exactly what Camp Grounded had to offer. First of all, the rules: no devices, no internet, no technology use, and no work talk. Also, campers cannot ask each other’s ages and there is no drug or alcohol use allowed. All campers must use a nickname instead of their real names as well.

Campers can sneak out at night, can participate in activities that they have not been able to experience because they have been attached to their technology, and can get to know new faces. The entire experience is meant to help technojunkies and technoaddicts detox from their technoworlds for just four days from June 14-17. Obviously, the group that is putting it on, The Digital Detox, has something good because this year’s event is sold out, and they are already considering more in the future.

I think this is a brilliant idea. Now, don’t misunderstand…I love my laptop. I journal, write stories, and research on it daily. But I also love the organic peace that comes from a pen and paper and a book. I would absolutely take part in something like Camp Grounded. To be able to wake up and not have to think about checking the news or email or texts or staring at a computer screen all day is wonderful. To be able to wake up and do some yoga, then go for a nature walk, learn archery, play games, and participate in arts & crafts all in the same day with my attention solely focused on just the activities in hand would be so refreshing.

In fact, I sort of do this every summer. See, I teach college English; composition, literature, and creative writing. It is the best job ever. I get to teach what I love. I also do not have to work in the summer (I don’t get paid, but whatever. I’ll take lower pay for the summer to travel and write and experience. But I digress.).  I spend much of my summer traveling around the US, mostly out west, and around the world. I hike and camp and fish and experience the world.

This means that I also have no reception, no power, no technology for most of the summer. I spend weeks just enjoying and experiencing nature. I have a pen, journal, and books galore. When I am not out hiking or fishing, I’m by my camp reading or writing or drawing. No phone ringing, no text dinging, nothing. Just nature and me.

Even when I am overseas, I do not have an international plan nor do I typically travel with a laptop. Of course, the hostels and hotels always have internet access, but I’m usually out and about connecting with the culture I am visiting.

I find that after a few weeks without the pressure of technology, I am refreshed and ready for anything. I balance my life differently. I still focus on my responsibilities, but I also focus on my interests and desires. I do not let my phone and the pressures of technology therein rule my life. For a few blessed months, technology holds little sway over me.

Then, of course, the rigors of teaching and writing and research kick back in, but by then I am ready to handle it. The summer technodetox helps me to do that.

Hopefully, what The Digital Detox group is doing with Camp Grounded will catch on and more people will find time to disconnect for real, even just for a few days. Then when we reconnect, we will not feel so overwhelmed.

Image Credit: yukipon / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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