OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A nonprofit group is encouraging people to put their phones and iPads away starting Friday evening at sundown and to stay off these technological devices - no texting, no tweeting, no TV - for 24 hours.
The group sponsoring the event, Reboot, knows this is a big ask.
“Unplugging from your phone and computer for 24 hours isn’t easy,” said National Day of Unplugging co-creator Dan Rollman, a tech entrepreneur. "That kind of break is uncommon for us in today's hyper-connected world. If you can do it though, it’s a wonderful way to recharge your spiritual batteries and be present with the world around you. It provides a healthy reminder of the benefits that come from taking an occasional respite from our devices.”
This is the 10th anniversary of the National Day of Unplugging, which was launched as the smartphone was just emerging into popular use. This year, the event begins on Friday and lasts through Saturday, from sundown to sundown.
The launch of the National Day of Unplugging in 2010, was followed by the advent of digital detox retreats and a growing call from former tech executives for accountability by the companies they say have intentionally created a society of tech addiction.
In 2011, just 35 percent of people owned a smartphone. Now about 77 percent do. And they use them constantly, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study. The top 10 percent of users tap, swipe or click their phones 5,427 times a day and most start doing that right when they wake up. Almost 70 percent of adults sleep with their phones by the bed. About 85 percent of smartphone users check their phones while talking with friends or family.
The goal of the National Day of Unplugging offers an "urgently needed escape from the relentless deluge of information emanating from the now ubiquitous and ever-present screens that dominate our daily lives," Reboot organizers say.
The day is not intended to be a one-off, but rather a starting point to encourage people of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle by regularly setting aside unplugged time, Reboot said.
While Reboot has roots in the Jewish tradition and the 24-digital break mirrors the timeframe of the Jewish Sabbath, the National Day of Unplugging has spread to 125 countries,, including far-flung places such as the Bhutan, the Isle of Man, Mongolia, Andorra, and Kazakhstan. Anyone is encouraged to participate of any faith. For more information, click here.