Column - Unplugging from technology helps maintain focus


The day of the average college student starts with turning off the morning alarm, a quick check of the weather and maybe some headlines and then Facebook for another 10 or 20 minutes.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that people consume about twelve hours of media per day and visit, on average, 40 websites per day. In 1960, only five hours of media were consumed daily.

Students who are constantly plugged into technology may find taking a break beneficial to personal relationships, as well as in regaining focus.

Technology is an important part of today's society. It shrinks distances, frees up time and allows for the completion of small tasks. People can work from anywhere, and they can use it as a tool to escape from work.

Even with these benefits, studies have shown that constant stimulation of the brain may lead to problems focusing.

The lack of focus creates strains in personal relationships with friends and family, as well as with being able to do different tasks fully.

A 2004 Stanford University study found it takes multitaskers longer to switch among tasks and ignore irrelevant information than people who do not multitask.

Multitaskers are also more sensitive to new information, and they are unable to focus with the hint of something new.

This means that a person cannot stop multitasking, and checking email or Facebook becomes more important than whatever paper is due.

Taking a walk without an iPod, iPhone or any other type of technology; or just avoiding technology for a few hours will not solve everything, but it does offer baby steps to regaining focus and reconnecting with the world.

When you walk around listening to music, the outside world is tuned out, and you become oblivious to surroundings.

Unplugging from technology is like a detox for the mind. It allows one to do something for himself or herself and get away from the constant stream of new information. It permits the reassessment of technology's role in daily life.

Control the stream of information. Include setting up email so only the important ones go to your phone, or just talk to a person face-to-face instead of texting them to make plans.

If more motivation is needed, then be part of National Day of Unplugging on March 20.

National Day of Unplugging was developed to encourage young and overly immersed users to take a rest from technology and acknowledge the beauty of life.

The day was created by a group of artists, filmmakers, journalists and writers who are in the vanguard of electronic interaction and media consumption.

They realized how detrimental technology is to focus, personal relationships and the ability to live in the moment.

This day allows for people to reconnect with the world and the people inhabiting it on a face-to-face basis.

Technology is important, but it should not be the main focus of life.

People need to focus more on their friends and families, the world in which they live and its natural beauty.

When technology dictates every aspect of life, it no longer acts as a tool for the user. Instead, the user becomes the tool of the technology.