We’re more connected and more accessible than ever. 91% of Albertan households owned a mobile phone in 2013 (Statistics Canada), and 60% of households under 35 years of age only used a cell phone. That percentage more then doubled in the past five years. My household was one of them back in 2008. I’ve owned a smart phone since late 2009, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s my alarm, my music player, my bus schedule, my notebook, my camera, my newspaper, my gaming device… I use it least as a phone! Cell phones may not have been invented in my lifetime, but they’ve definitely taken over the connected world.
I don’t always feel like being constantly accessible is a good thing, though. There’s a radio ad for Rogers (which I hear on my cell phone) where people share the remote places where they can stay connected – while fishing, working, traveling… I don’t want to be connected all the time! I have my limits in my day-to-day life as well. I’m more and more overwhelmed by all the sounds around me, so my ringer is never on, nor are any audible notifications. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook; I never downloaded Messenger (although I can log in from a browser to check messages if needed), and all the invitations, tags, and notifications can also get overwhelming to the extent that I take the occasional Facebook vacation. MySpace didn’t come close to this level of immersion, although we couldn’t check it 24/7… If only Tom was my first friend a couple of years later!
I recently got to wondering what life would be like without a cell phone. I can remember using a rotary phone (which we had a few years into the advent of touch tones and answering machines), a tape deck, and the matching Vivitar NEON lites 110 mm cameras my sister and I had. It wasn’t that long ago! Would I go a week without a mobile device? No. A day? That’s doable. Two days? Just enough of a challenge. Bring on 48 Disconnected Hours!
Here are the rules:
1. I will only use my phone as a home phone. It stays home, and I can only make and receive calls (including voice mail). If I get a text, for instance, I’ll leave it unread.
2. No loopholes. I won’t use my tablet or my husband’s phone while I disconnect.
3. No Luddites. I’ll still have full use of my desktop computer (and my work computer, as far as I use it), so Facebook and email at home are fine.
My initial thought was “why not start tonight?” I was ready to start before I realized that I do want to stay connected – the Muttart Conservatory will have its corpse flower, Putrella, bloom any day now, and I want to know as soon as it happens! I’ll put it off a week, then, and start as I go to bed on Saturday, April 11. 48 Disconnected Hours ends when I go to sleep on Monday, April 13. It’ll be interesting!