Tech Timeout: Less Texts, More Conversations

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By: Rich DeMuro

Jun. 7, 2013

Between work and play, many of us are on our smartphones and computers all day long.

Though being “connected” online gives us the sense our friends are always in reach, it could actually be more isolating than we think.

“We are spending too much time with our technology instead of with each other,” said Dr. Sherry Turkle, professor of Psychology at MIT.

And more and more, she says, tech is changing the way we communicate.

In her book “Alone Together” Turkle argues that though it’s true we are communicating more in the sense we share messages via social media and shorthand messages, we aren’t conversing as much in the traditional sense–sharing our unedited experiences with each other, good and bad.

“We go on Facebook and only say the great things that happen to us during our day.  We’re not sharing our lives,” said Turkle.

The message was first brought to attention of the public when she spoke at a tech conference called TED.

“Texting, emailing, all of these things let us present the self as we want to be,” she said. “I call it being alone together.”

The message seemed to have hit a chord, the video racking up nearly 2 million views

“We’re at dinner with our families, but we’re each into our phones,” Turkle added during a recent interview. “Looking at what’s on our phones.”

Her suggestion to the growing pandemic, a tech time out.

“Take a week, and for a week for an hour a day, no devices,” Turkle said. “Create sacred spaces, the kitchen, the dining room, the car.  These are places where families should be talking to each other.  Not everybody disappearing into their phones…”

It may seem easier said than done, but if you want to give the tech time out pledge a try, just follow the link.

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