Friday night topic: How often do you unplug?

— 5:19 PM on September 12, 2014

With Google and Apple trying to sell us wearable tech, and everyone else force-feeding us the Internet of things, the trend lately is toward more screen time, not less. It's like we're expected to have an Internet-enabled contraption in our face at all times.

Funny thing, though. More and more often these past few months, I've been leaving my phone at home when taking walks outside. It started with simple forgetfulness, but it's turned into a ritual of sorts. See, there's something awfully relaxing, downright serene about not having the Internet in my pocket. I get to enjoy the moment without interruptions or distractions. When I see something interesting or beautiful, I have to experience it without feeling the urge to take a picture. If I don't know or remember something off the top of my head, I have to think and debate and converse.

...though I'll probably still Google it when I get home.

Along the same lines, I've been reading more printed books lately. I made the switch after getting sick of my Kindle's less-than-perfect typesetting, and I found that there were many other reasons to enjoy dead-tree media: no white LEDs glowing under the page, no battery life indicators to worry about, no distracting widgets or numbers on the screen, and a much greater feeling of intimacy and immersion. A number of studies suggest printed books are conducive to better reading comprehension, too. And heaving around a copy of Infinite Jest is a pretty good workout.

What about you? How often do you deliberately unplug? Does taking breaks from the Internet make your life better, or are you happier being constantly connected?

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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