As part of the ‘Disconnection Challenge’, six Kingston students put away their cellphones and all devices for a week.
The only exceptions were emergencies, if they had to get a ride from their parents, school assignments and work.
“I thought it was going to be a disaster, honestly. I was really nervous,” said Kingston teen, Adam Tibi.
Like many teens, most of their day revolves around their devices, whether it’s posting, tweeting or snapping, they’re constantly online.
“Even though we spend a lot of time on our phone. It’s not a lot of meaningful time. So it doesn’t really impact us,” said participant, Catriona Farquharson.
Though the challenge wrapped up in the spring, students that participated say they have been using their phones less, since the fast.
“Now I find myself doing homework earlier because I am not using technology as much and I find myself being more social,” admits Tibi.
The students released an informative video about their experience, with the help of researchers from Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa.
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Researchers say parents should be mindful about their own technology use as well.
“So not only are we the ones buying our phones but we’re also the ones that are building these network spaces and encouraging them to be on them. I think we need to do that more thoughtfully,” said Valarie Steeves, a researcher from the University of Ottawa.
Valarie Michaelson, a local researcher at Queen’s University, said it’s important to take a step back from the social media life and evaluate what’s important to you.
“How are we using our technologies in ways that help us connect… in ways that help us flourish? And how are they exhausting us, overwhelming us and disconnecting us?” said Michaelson.
As for the students, they say they felt liberated and free and encourage others to try powering down from the online world, even if it’s only a temporary break.