The Importance of Screen-Free Time

This past weekend I had the good fortune to spend a couple of nights in a small cabin at Temenos in Shutesbury, MA with my incomparable wife. A “rustic retreat center, located on Mount Mineral, about a half hour northeast of Amherst, Massachusetts,” Temenos is comprised of a cluster of cabins, a pump well, and lots and lots of woods. Put another way, there’s no electricity, wi-fi, computers, phones, or television; you’re seriously unplugged.

Not surprisingly, without many of the things that tend to divert our energy and attention, this lent itself to a deeper level of connection and communication. Our weekend was lovely, and I can’t recommend Temenos more highly.

I wasn’t surprised, then, when I read on NPR’s blog this morning about the August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, VT, a small eatery which has chosen to ban all large screens (lap-tops, and presumably tablets) from its tables and booths. Originally inspired by fiscal realities, the cafe’s owner Jodi Whalen also acknowledged the social impact they were having: “To walk into a place and see people looking at their screens with a blank stare, it takes away…the community aspect of it — of you being in a place with other people.” How true!

So, consider this a plug for unplugging: take some tech-free time with some friends and/or loved ones, play a favorite board game, turn off your computer and phone a little earlier tonight and sit with a good book, or even commit to limiting your tech-time each day. I guarantee you’ll appreciate the difference.

Happy trails!

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