Look Up: Life Without Technology

Look Up: Life Without Technology

Greg Duckworth (The University of Texas at Tyler, USA) and Andrew Krouse (The University of Texas at Tyler, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2914-0.ch011


This study examines data acquired from 120 undergraduate college students as part of a required assignment in which they were required to eliminate the use of all technology for a consecutive 24-hour period. The data were analyzed to determine (1) how they felt starting the assignment, (2) what technology they stopped using, (3) substitute activities used in lieu of technology, (4) how they felt at the conclusion of the technology moratorium, and (5) whether the participants would introduce long-term change in their use of technology. It was determined that, overall, students were apprehensive at the start of the exercise but subsequently experienced a positive experience at the conclusion. The most commonly identified technology device identified was a mobile phone. Substitute activities varied and included things such as sleeping, reading, and spending time with friend and family. Because of the positive experience, many indicated that they would be more mindful and modify their usage of technology devices.
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While there are many types of technology that are constantly competing for our attention, the smart phone is most often declared the winner. Just look around and you will see heads bowed and fingers scrolling as people are mesmerized by the glowing screen in their hand. Research by Mahmood and Shahzad (2016) stated that the use of mobile phones has experienced one of the fastest adoptions rates the world has ever seen. Smartphones also have one of the most pervasive footprints of any electronic equipment sold. In fact, worldwide it is estimated that there will be 2.9 billion phones in use by 2020 (Statista, 2019). Also, each device can be further customized by adding any number of applications that expands the seemingly unlimited possibilities for its use. Perhaps the device should be more aptly referred to as a miniature computer with a phone application available for people that prefer to interact with one another. It appears that no one is immune to the enticement of the allure of mobile technology. Demographic analysis of the utilization of smart phone technology indicates that both men and women frequently use their phone for social engagement as opposed to process use (Van Deursen, Bolle, Hegner, & Kommers, 2015). With all the uses that smart phone technology purports to offer, there is an overwhelming reliance on the information, entertainment, and productivity that it provides.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mandated Technological Abstinence: Absence of the use of technology, typically mobile devices and computer technology, required by parents, instructors, managers, or administrators.

Technology Lethargy: Absence of enthusiasm following sustained periods of technology usage.

Technology Distraction: Not giving full attention to a person or activity due to engagement with a mobile or other technology device.

Technology Invasiveness: Devices or digital machines that intrude upon personal or business privacy.

Technology Addiction: Obsessive behavior related to use of technology significantly affecting relationships with others, work tasks, and activities of daily living.

Digital Detoxing: Separating oneself from technology devices to regain or strengthen connections with self, others, and activities.

Opportunity Cost of Digital Addiction: Trading real-life relationships and work achievements for technology dependence.

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