24/6: The Pow­er of Unplug­ging One Day a Week

  • Review
By – January 13, 2020

If you find your­self col­lid­ing with the impact of over­whelm­ing and over­stim­u­lat­ing 24/7 expo­sure to tech­nol­o­gy, Tiffany Shlain’s 24/6 The Pow­er Of Unplug­ging One Day A Week is a must read for you. Shlain, a film­mak­er, inter­net pio­neer, and Web­by Awards inno­va­tor, offers a self-help book that out­lines a way to alle­vi­ate the pres­sure of technology’s con­stant grip by prac­tic­ing, Tech­nol­o­gy Shab­bat.” One day a week for the past ten years she has com­plete­ly turned off from all devices that pro­vide, the pow­er of the world at your fingertips.”

Shlain explains her phi­los­o­phy with­out being preachy as she shares per­son­al anec­dotes, fam­i­ly sto­ries, and friends’, and cowork­ers’ reac­tions to her unplug­ging. She has cre­at­ed a new vision and life expe­ri­ence for her­self, her hus­band, and her two daugh­ters. Their Tech Shab­bat” is based upon the Jew­ish Shab­bat, includ­ing chal­lah mak­ing and a tra­di­tion­al Fri­day night meal with fam­i­ly and friends. Although Shlain is a sec­u­lar Jew who doesn’t prac­tice the reli­gious rit­u­als of Shab­bat, she cher­ish­es her day of rest and recon­nec­tion. The entire fam­i­ly refrains from screens and reaps the ben­e­fits of this time as a form of self-care and heal­ing, that fos­ters cre­ativ­i­ty, mind­ful­ness, and an appre­ci­a­tion of nature and peo­ple. They reex­am­ine life while rebal­anc­ing on their day off.

Shlain begins by pre­sent­ing her per­son­al rea­sons for unplug­ging and fol­lows this with descrip­tions of just what a 24/6 day embod­ies. She then goes on to sup­port her stance using exten­sive research, sci­en­tif­ic facts, his­tor­i­cal infor­ma­tion, per­ti­nent and notable quotes, and reli­gious ref­er­ences from bib­li­cal to mod­ern times.

She dis­cuss­es the lack of vital social­iza­tion skills and med­ical issues tech has caused and pro­vides infor­ma­tion on how neu­ro­science, psy­chol­o­gy, and phi­los­o­phy view the world of tech. The lack of eye con­tact, undi­vid­ed atten­tion and focus, and addic­tive screen behav­iors are dis­cussed. Shlain empha­sizes how our dai­ly lives are affect­ed by not hav­ing to rely on mem­o­ry. Phone num­bers, address­es, or impor­tant dates can now be imme­di­ate­ly retrieved on your phone. Shlain notes that while tech moves busi­ness it also impedes it. Tech caus­es reduced effi­cien­cy and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty as well as con­stant dis­trac­tions. She has been a force in com­bat­ing these issues in the Wait Until 8th move­ment that advo­cates not giv­ing smart­phones to chil­dren until 8th grade.

Fur­ther sec­tions include strate­gies, guide­lines, lists, hints, ideas, advice, and first­hand accounts of those who have imple­ment­ed the 24/6 sys­tem. Detailed and exten­sive check lists to fol­low and imple­ment are pro­vid­ed and can be adapt­ed to your lifestyle.

Shlain’s tone high­lights her humor, wit, and warmth. Her hon­esty, expe­ri­ences, and thought pro­vok­ing ideas present a com­pelling and con­vinc­ing case; she cre­ates a road map for an achiev­able and fruit­ful ver­sion of Shab­bat. The read­er is inspired and feels that the promise of a Tech Shab­bat” is pos­si­ble in one’s life.

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

Discussion Questions