NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- National Day of Unplugging (NDU) has announced its 11th year series of Unplugged Events, to be held from sundown-to-sundown, Friday, March 6 – Saturday, March 7, 2020. Over the past decade, NDU has been at the forefront of the movement to educate people about the dangers involved with over-reliance on technology–especially as it pertains to handheld devices.
When NDU started in 2009, very little academic and clinical research had been conducted about the long term impact of smartphone use on mental health. Recognizing the need for awareness of what might become a bigger problem, the Jewish arts and culture non-profit Reboot launched the Sabbath Manifesto, a project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world. That program evolved into NDU and led the way for other organizations to form, including Levi Felix Camp Grounded and Center for Humane Technology. "Technology is both one of the most helpful and potentially troubling modern-day advances – making communication easier as a global community, but also feeding addictive behaviors that often supersede human interaction," says David Katznelson, Reboot's Executive Director and CEO.
The amount of smartphone users worldwide has reached 3.5 billion. According to recent studies, the average smartphone user taps, swipes or clicks their phone 2617 times per day, with most starting immediately when they wake up.
Dr. Tracy Dennis Tiwary, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at The City University of New York and creator of the anxiety-reduction app Personal Zen says, "As we see a spike in anxiety and loneliness relating to daily engagement with technology devices, it's important for families to teach their children about life/tech balance, just as we teach them about healthy eating and physical fitness."
In recent years, the movement to rebalance our relationship to technology has exploded, developing products, cultivating communities and publishing books that explore various aspects of the vital need to elevate human interaction over digital connection. One such best-selling book is "24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week", written by Emmy-nominated filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain. Since the first NDU, Shlain began turning off screens one day every week with her family and has done it ever since. "Going offline one day a week for over a decade with our daughters (sixteen and ten) has opened my eyes on how to fill the day with the best parts of life, and a radical act of protection against the always-on, always-available world."
In its second decade, NDU will drive the global dialogue to examine the broader social impact of unplugging--addressing energy conservation, mental health, personal productivity and the socio-economic implications of technology use in underserved communities.
As part of this dialogue, NDU ambassador Kim Cavallo, founder of the company lilspace, is spearheading the program's new initiative with brand partners through the Unplug for a Cause™ challenge. "In recent years, brands have spent billions of marketing dollars on digital advertising designed to keep us clicking and scrolling. We're eager to help companies engage their customers in a new way--sponsoring unplugging challenges."
This year's Unplug for a Cause™ sponsor Renfro has agreed to donate a pair of socks for every unplugged minute tracked in the lilspace app throughout the month of March to the non-profit homeless services organization Knock Knock Give A Sock.
For 2020, NDU partner events/programs include:
- A conversation forum, "The Technology of Human Connection", co-hosted by Facebook at Civic Hall in New York, New York
- Games and activities for young children in the Unplugged Village at the local Farmers Market in La Mesa, California
- Opportunities for individuals to book an Unplugged retreat experience through Vosant Meetings + Travel at Miraval Resorts in Tuscon, AZ or Austin, TX throughout the month of March.
Those interested in participating can visit www.NationalDayofUnplugging.com to "Take The Pledge," download a free toolkit with tips to help get the most out of tech-free time, and get information about the events.
SOURCE National Day of Unplugging