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.