Can you imagine 24 hours without technology? I know I couldn’t…

Thanks to our guest blogger, Angela Hart, a grad student from Georgetown University for sharing her experience.

As an undergraduate, I was posed with a question, “Can you go 24 hours without technology?” The professor asked students to think about how often they use their phones or log onto their computers. During the People to People Virtual Tribe Conference held Thursday, September 18, 2014, and Friday, September 19, 2014, at Georgetown University, the same question was asked yet again.

Due to the fact I had already printed off all of my assigned journal articles for class and didn’t technically need to use my computer for anything else, I wanted to undertake this challenge. I started making a list of all the things I could do instead, such as play with my dog, finish the novel I’ve been reading, do laundry, and more. So, for the first time in weeks, I turned my phone off and unplugged by computer.

Slowly but surely, I became concerned that I was missing out on something. My mind started wondering and created a running list of all the possible text messages, phone calls, or emails I may have received. My mind began going wild with the possibility of “what if.” What if my mother called or texted me about an emergency back in Massachusetts? What if I missed an important phone call? What if my professor replied to my email? What if my class has a change in the syllabus? What if there is a notification about an upcoming opportunity and I missed it? These questions, and many others, eventually made it difficult to concentrate. I had only cut myself off from technology for a little over an hour before I felt compelled to check my phone. I couldn’t complete the challenge.

For me, the issue wasn’t about checking a Facebook account, Twitter profile, Tumblr page, or to like a picture on Instagram, but it was the thought of not knowing. People rely on technology for information, not just in regards to social media and news, but on a personal level, too. My friends and family back in Massachusetts communicate with me via text messages, phone calls, and emails – without technology I wouldn’t be in contact with them.

On Friday, September 19, 2014, at eight o’clock in the morning, I saw the line curled around the block for the new iPhone; there must have been over one hundred people waiting for their chance to own the latest tech savvy device. Technology is important in the modern day world, I’m just not sure if our need for devices and connections is always positive. During my brief experiment, I reached for my phone numerous times even though I knew it wasn’t there. I wanted my phone just in case I needed it. When we are little, we have blankets or favorite teddy bears for comfort. Now, my safety blanket is my phone.

–Angela Hart