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'Technology Shabbats' Help Families Unplug

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Every weekend I say I’m going to do it, and every weekend I fail.

Last year, after learning about digital sabbaths through the National Day of Unplugging, my family and I went dark for 24 hours from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. I buried my iPad under a pile of books, stuck my iPhone in a drawer, and hid the TV remote from my kids.

We had a great day doing a whole lot of nothing and at the end of it I felt great -- less addicted, less frantic, less distracted. I swore we’d honor this tradition every week. And while we did spend one unplugged vacation together, we have never managed to abstain from technology for a full day since.

But after watching the first episode of Tiffany Shlain’s AOL original video series The Future Starts Here, I’m going to give this digital sabbath idea another try, starting tonight. Really.

Shlain, who I met a year and a half ago when she was on HuffPost Women’s panel at SXSW, is a Bay Area-based filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, lover of technology and just as addicted to it as the rest of us. But in this clip, she says it can make her feel like an “emotional pinball machine.” So three years ago she instituted a weekly “technology shabbat” in her household. Every Friday night all electronics are unplugged until the following evening and her family turns their attention to analog pleasures like cooking, gardening and reading books. “I feel like a better mother, wife and person,” she says. “Every week it’s like a valve of pressure releases.”

So, could you stay off your devices for 24 hours? Have you ever? What was the result? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Around the Web

Get Unplugged: A Technology Sabbath - CBN.com

Tiffany Shlain | TECHNOLOGY SHABBATS

National Day of Unplugging 2014 « Sabbath Manifesto

'Technology Sabbath' Offers One Day to Unplug | Mediashift | PBS

A Tech Sabbath offers a chance to unplug, recharge | OregonLive.com

Episode 1: Technology Shabbat - AOL On

Unplugging for Shabbat - Kveller, Jewish Family & Children

Unplugging From Technology - Huffington Post

Technology Shabbat | Ep. 1 | Future Starts Here - YouTube

Tiffany Shlain on the Web, Women and Unplugging for Shabbat