One day, 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, no media. That’s right, no television, movies, social networks, online browsing, newspaper reading, or listening to music. Do you think you could do it?
Last Sunday, yes “Super Bowl Sunday”, I gave up media for a full day. As part of a class assignment we were instructed to choose any day and give up media. While doing so we were asked to keep a journal logging out media activity for one day and our thoughts while giving up media on another day. Many students in the class struggled to get through this assignment and were appalled by the idea of going a whole day without media. Instead, I was really looking forward to a media free day.
I’m not very “plugged in” when it comes to media; I don’t have cable, I deleted most social media apps off of my phone, and movies are reserved for weekends in my world. However, after keeping track of my media use for the day I was actually surprised by how often I turn to media throughout the day. Looking through my log I was actually a little disappointed in my media use. I’m not by any means lazy or a couch potato; I didn’t just sit around watching Netflix lying in bed, but I would often multi-task with music on, an episode of Friends, or take a break to scroll through Pinterest. That may not seem like excessive media use, but I was surprised at how often I would use media throughout the day.
So how did I survive my media free day? It was actually a very productive and enjoyable day. No music, television, news, social media; I was free to relax, enjoy peace and quiet, and catch up on work. Spending the day away from all of the chaos of media gave me a chance to reflect on the role that media plays in our lives; we rely on it all too often.
Media may serve a great purpose in our lives but it also has the power to tear people down, spread rumors, shape our beliefs, and form new social norms or expectations. I appreciate all that media has contributed to the world; we use it for education, to keep in touch with loved ones, and to try new things. It is important that we use media wisely and become more aware of the ways we let it influence our lives.
Since my day of ‘media deprivation’ I have cut back on my media use and I have felt so great. Not everyone is addicted to media and regardless of how ‘unplugged’ you may be, I think we could all benefit from some time free of media. There are so many things that consume society wether it be media, material items, food, work, laziness, etc. (An Experiment in Growth**). My challenge to all of you is to take at least one day to eliminate media from your life. Use it as time to catch up with friends and family, enjoy being outside, relax, or do some housework. I promise you will walk away from this day feeling relaxed. Take the challenge and try to make a positive change in your life.
**Traci’s article An Experiment in Growth talks about cutting back on the things that we take for granted to grow in our everyday lives and be more appreciative of the things we already have.