Last month, many people relinquished their cellphones, iPads and access to social media websites for 24 hours in celebration of the National Day of Unplugging.
This day propelled writers to debate whether unplugging is worthwhile. Some agree with the National Day of Unplugging representatives' assertion that unplugging gives individuals the opportunity to form real-life connections and pursue meaningful offline activities.
“Although social media promises to strengthen connections, its technology has limitations. Clicking a Facebook like or becoming a Twitter follower creates a bond, but not a strong one,” says Henry G. Brinton at The Huffington Post.
“We can all benefit from unplugging from the online world for a day or a season (such as Lent) and finding serenity and spiritual growth in a stronger connection to God and to the people closest to us,” he says.
Casey N. Cep at The New Yorker, on the other hand, does not think unplugging is restorative.
“Unplugging from devices doesn’t stop us from experiencing our lives through their lenses, frames and formats,” says Cep. “We are only ever tourists in the land of no technology, our visas valid for a day or a week or a year, and we travel there with the same eyes and ears that we use in our digital homeland.”
He adds that people who take a break from social media often quickly return to these networks and ask what they missed.
Elissa Strauss at The Jewish Daily Forward also does not believe unplugging is necessarily better. She unplugged during the Sabbath, but found she was missing important information from friends and family.
“So instead of focusing so much energy on unplugging as a way to reconnect on the Sabbath, I think we should put more effort into plugging into life around us,” says Strauss. “Make a point of having friends over for Friday night dinner at least once a month. You can even text them your address.”