Press Release: Sixth Annual “National Day of Unplugging”

Families encouraged to take a break from technology March 6-7, 2015! NEW YORK (February 10, 2015) – In celebration of the sixth-annual National Day of Unplugging (NDU) from sundown Friday, March 6 to sundown, Saturday, March 7, the nonprofit Reboot is asking individuals and families to put down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours to experience life unplugged.

Parenting experts warn that pervasive digital distractions are harming interpersonal relationships, hindering youth from developing face-to-face communication skills and teaching children that disappearing into digital devices for endless hours is an appropriate pastime.

A 2014 study by UCLA researchers found that sixth graders who spent five days screen-free were better at reading facial expressions and nonverbal cues of human emotion at the end of the period than classmates who used smartphones and watched television or other digital screens.

The National Day of Unplugging recognizes the value and importance of technology in today’s world with the goal of encouraging people to be more mindful of their technology use. The day is not intended to be a one-off, but rather a starting point to encourage people to set aside unplugged time regularly.

“We have reached a tipping point where technology has invaded every aspect of our lives and is turning our friends and families into proverbial third wheels,” said Reboot Executive Director Robin Kramer. “We are encouraging people to take a pause to unplug and engage in life without digital connections, and to also take stock of their tech use and its impact. Most people probably don’t realize how profound it is.”

As smartphones invade our daily activities, parents are increasingly less present and available for their children. In a study released in 2014, researchers at Boston Medical Center observed 55 groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants and found that 72 percent of caregivers pulled out a mobile device right away and mostly ignored the children.

Additionally, the rise of smartphone use among children is causing health concerns, with a recent Pediatrics study finding that distraction by digital devices is negatively impacting kids’ sleep. The study found that 57 percent of children said they slept with a tablet, smartphone or other digital screen in or next to their bed, and those children reported getting 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep compared to children without devices in their bedrooms. Lack of sleep can make it harder for children to focus in school and can lead to serious health issues, including obesity.

Inspired by the National Day of Unplugging, filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain challenged her family to unplug weekly. She explores the impact of unplugging in her Emmy-nominated show “The Future Starts Here,” which investigates what it means to be human in an increasingly connected world.

“Since the first National Day of Unplugging six years ago, my family and I have unplugged from our digital devices one day each week,” Shlain said. “This has been one of the best things we have ever done because it has brought a sense of balance to our lives and has helped our family connect without distractions in a meaningful way."

To set families up for success during the National Day of Unplugging, Reboot is offering a toolkit of tips for activities to facilitate tech-free family time. Additionally, individuals and families are invited to participate in the “I/WE UNPLUG TO _____” campaign to publicly share what they like to do when not using technology by uploading a photo at www.NationalDayofUnplugging.com.

###

About National Day of Unplugging The NDU has roots in the Jewish tradition of the Sabbath. This modern day of rest was developed in 2010 for people of all backgrounds as a way to bring balance to the increasingly fast-paced way of life and reclaim time to connect with family, friends and our communities. The National Day of Unplugging has resonated around the world with people of all backgrounds, from Catholic to Hindi, Buddhist and Muslim and has been embraced by a range of celebrities including Arianna Huffington and Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan.

About Reboot Reboot affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own. Inspired by Jewish ritual and embracing the arts, humor, food, philosophy, and social justice, we produce creative projects that spark the interest of young Jews and the larger community. Among our productions are events, exhibitions, recordings, books, films, DIY activity toolkits, and apps. Since our inception, 480 network members, 700 community organization partners, and hundreds of thousands of people have looked to Reboot to rekindle connections and re-imagine Jewish lives full of meaning, creativity, and joy. Find out more at www.rebooters.net

GeneralNina Pena