The English Learners' Blog

A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!


Can you imagine a completely “unplugged” daily routine for yourself?

With no Internet, mobile phone or digital music players?

A Day Without Media is a research conducted by ICMPA and students at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland (College Park, USA) that investigates the possibility of “surviving” without media for a day.

What is your comment on “going unplugged“?

How would you and/or the average young man or woman in your country respond to this challenge?

If you are interested in learning more about the media landscape change in recent years you can watch this video posted last September on YouTube by the Economist magazine. Start with answering the quizz below, then watch the video to check the answer.

By the way, how often do you text your acquaintances and friends per month?


Filed under: ■ Science & Technology

45 Responses

  1. Krzysztof Sz. says:

    Going “unplugged” is always a good idea. Especially if someone tends to check his e-mail 500 times a day 🙂

    I remember a time when I didn’t have Internet at home, and there was always something to do. But now it’s so hard to think about alternative activities in my everyday routine.

  2. Aga P. says:

    I know it may sound weird but I like the days when my Internet connection is “broken” and I can’t use the Internet, 🙂 because I have more time for other things. My problem is that when I have the possibility to use the Internet I must do this, even without any purpose. Am I addicted? I hope I am not, however I will try to make an Internet-free day:)

    • Alina Alens says:

      Making room for an Internet-free day sounds like an excellent idea, Agnieszka!
      You were mentioning addiction. Krzysztof mentioned the people who feel the need to check their mailbox again and again.
      I believe the Internet has become so indispensable for most of us today that many of us are worried about becoming “addicted” to it.
      Personally, I like to think that I am using a tool rather than being “used” by the Internet. In my case I think I’m right – at least for the most part. 😉

  3. Krzysztof Sz. says:

    On the other hand, when we think about Internet in terms of work – it’s just awesome. Especially for scientists (PHYSICS! YAY! :P), because global network means easy exchange of articles, thought, ideas and data. And my favourite – the ability to work remotely, as I can do some stuff on a computer in Switzerland while sitting in my room in Kraków.

  4. Rafał G. says:

    I think the same, just like Aga P. When I don’t check my e-mail on a certain day, I feel free. What’s more, we often refuse to meet our friends, saying we’re busy. But let’s look closer, how much time do we spend checking our e-mail or our Facebook page – a trend which has become very popular recently?
    Spending some days unplugged seems to be a very seductive proposition.

    • Przemek says:

      A few months ago I used the TimeCamp application to monitor how much time I spent on such activities – the results were terrifying 😉

      Unfortunately, at the moment their free trial works only for 14 days, but for sure there are other projects with similar functions.

  5. Magdalena G. says:

    Actually, a few weeks ago I was forced to stay unplugged for a few days after my laptop “died” on the Monday just before Easter. I felt quite uncomfortable right then, as I couldn’t check my e-mails, my virtual pets, message boards and do various other things I do on the Net every day, as well as work on my degree thesis (I have all the materials on my hard disc, but printing them all would take too much paper), play games et caetera. I still had my mobile phone, but I don’t use it to connect to the Internet because it’s too expensive. And once during that time I had to go to an Internet cafe to write something for one of my professors, but I did this only because I had to and was unplugged (net-wise) for the rest of that time. I managed to find other things to do, and I think it was actually quite good time as I usually spend too much time in the Net. However, I wish something like that won’t happen again soon.
    By the way, we are all talking about Internet, while the topic is about other media as well…
    So, as for me, I don’t have a TV or radio in Krakow, so I know I can easily live without them for a long time. The same goes for newspapers and magazines (I read almost only those which are given free). I have a music player and like to listen to it on the bus to Krakow and to Nowy Targ (where my home is), but again I might as well not use it. I’d feel a bit uncomfortable, however, if I couldn’t use my mobile phone for a long time, as it’ s the main way I can communicate with my parents when I’m in Krakow. Nevertheless, I don’t send many text messages… I usually send one to my parents when I’m on a bus to Nowy Targ to let them know I’m coming home, and sometimes I send replies to my classmates. It would be between 4 and 10 for month, really not much.

    • Alina Alens says:

      Great input, Magdalena! 🙂
      Thanks for your insight! You’re right about mobile phones today. We like to have them around even when we’re not using them (for texting or talking). Mine also makes a very good time keeper, a flash light at times & I really like to wake up to its fairy-tale alarm tune. Mobile phones – multifunctional & therefore almost indispensable!

  6. Magdalena G. says:

    Back to the talk about Internet – there is a small funny website I found some time ago, which has something in common with our topic:

  7. mike says:

    “Going unplugged” is quite a good idea, but for me it’s not a solution. I’m completely addicted. I could live without Internet but not without my cell phone. It’s my window to the world. I keep it in stand-by mode almost always and I truly feel without it like I had no hand. However, there is one good thing about this situation. Since I’m always available, you can be 90% sure that I’ll pick up my phone or call you back. That makes me quite a reliable person! 😉

  8. Rafał G. says:

    What if the battery in your cell phone is exhausted? 🙂
    I think that there is life even without the cell phone. When I’m on holiday, I check my mobile only one time per day and I keep it turned off for the rest of the day. It is nice to communicate in other ways with people sometimes. However, cell phones are very convenient.

    • Alina Alens says:

      Oh boy, thinking about the time when your phone battery dies…

      I feel exhausted only thinking about it! 🙂

      NB Batteries can get/be full, half-full, low, dead or drained. That’s when it’s “charging time”! 🙂
      People, on the other hand, get tired, exhausted, or even burnt out.
      How we charge our own human batteries is a whole other issue.
      Any ideas?

      • Imladris says:

        Charging human batteries? Oh that made me realise that I’m constantly tired, but I haven’t dwelled on it; now I realise what the main cause is: hastiness – the result and cause of creating media that allow us to be in immediate contact everywhere. Another cause is the information smog created by the already mentioned media. For me nature is the best rest – that’s the main reason I’m a biology student, although I have to admit that nature can also become irritatingly tiring on my faculty.

  9. mike says:

    I charge my cell phone during the night, so that the battery is full in the morning. I agree with Rafał that during holiday we need a little brake but a turned on cell phone wouldn’t bother me at all. Especially in view of the fact that I don’t recieve as many calls and messages as during an academic year 😉
    To charge our own batteries the best idea is a good night sleep or a short nap during the day.

  10. karol says:

    I usually go unplugged when I have a lot of work to do, especially during ”sesja”.
    For me the Internet rather disturbs than helps me in learning.

    Krzysiek Sz. could you tell me how often do you read articles, and how often check mail, Facebook, domoty etc? 🙂

    Maybe it could be a good idea to switch off electricity in the whole city for an hour, or two 🙂

    • Przemek says:

      I agree with your opinion! Once upon a time I had troubles with my Internet provider and then I was prepared perfectly for every class I had 😉 Mysteriously, I also had a time to read books etc. ;]

    • Krzysztof Sz. says:

      I don’t have a Facebook account, and I won’t have one 😛 And as for email, I’m not checking it at all 😀 (why do it, when your computer can do it for you?)

  11. NataliaB says:

    I would not have problems living without my cell phone, I use it rather rarely. But it would be definitely difficult to “go offline” on an everyday basis for me, and to stop using the Internet! Maybe that is also because I often use the Net instead of my cell phone to get in touch with my friends. I also use it to stay up to date with everything that’s going on in the world and in the university. But I need to admit that the Facebook games and other meaningless activities take way too much of my time.

  12. Pawel D says:

    I think that the idea of “going unplugged” as a means of fighting an Internet addiction is not a solution at all. Like it or not, the way our society evolves we are going to spend more and more time on-line not just for our amusement but simply because a lot of our activities will take place there. Look at this blog for example: it’s a perfect way to eliminate the reading part of English lessons, because it’s a waste of time during classes, where you should concentrate on speaking. And if you follow this line of thinking it becomes clear that reading this blog on-line while at home might eventually become an equal part of an English course.
    So the actual solution should be to force ourselves to spend time on-line more efficiently and try not to waste time on Internet games, endless forum topics etc. “Going unplugged,” therefore, works only as an escape from a problem, not as a solution.

  13. Ada says:

    I’m trying to “go unplugged” as often as it is possible. Usually at home or on holiday. It is nice to get rid of all information and questions. However, it is hard to “get unplugged” at all. Not only do we use cellphones, the Internet etc. for our work, studies but also to keep in touch with our family and friends. “Being plugged” make us fell closer to the world; becoming “unplugged” again will be a huge step back.

    • Alina Alens says:

      I agree with you that it is hard to “get unplugged” completely. However, there are people who don’t “get plugged” at all. I wonder how my life would look like in a society like that…

      • Iza B. says:

        I could not imagine being unplugged at all. I agree with Ada that we use cellphones and Internet devices so often in everyday life that without them there will be impossible to exist e.g. in student society. But I personally try to stay unplugged when I go on holidays, because I feel more freedom. In my casual life, on the other hand, I could not go without them.

  14. Magda Ł says:

    After not answering for a while, my cell phone is filled with messages ‘Where are you, what’s happening with you?’ (meaning – if I won’t answer the next day, the police would be called). After a couple of days, there would be, certainly, a great deal of important news in my email (like – how not to fail an exam)…
    So, like it or not, I need to keep an eye on my cell and email 😉
    On the other hand, I’m doing it anyway from time to time. Usually on the same occasions as Ada mentioned.

  15. Matylda says:

    People sometimes dream about a life without media, money etc. We would like to go into the wild like, for example, Christopher McCandless, but will it be a good alternative for a long time?

    • KasiaU2 says:

      Yeah, in my opinion we wouldn’t manage to stay in the wild for a long time. I can’t imagine that, to be honest. 😛 We’re too attached to the Internet, mobiles etc.

      • Imladris says:

        Well, I think I would do this but after I achieved everything I planned, and civilisation would no longer have anything to offer me. Sometimes I imagined my senility in Alaska forests near the coast – a place like this would provide me with shelter and food, and, most importantly, with the chance for observing nature and the tranquility of mind necessary for internal dialogue. Of course I would wonder if there was not enough food. I consider this seriously as a way of living.

        All that is gold does not glitter,
        Not all those who wander are lost;
        The old that is strong does not wither,
        Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

        I also want return to the rain forest for several months (maybe a year?), and I do not plan to maintain contact with civilisation during this trek.

  16. Agnieszka Kow. says:

    I think everything was made ‘for’ people not ‘against’ them so there is nothing bad in using technology in every day life. However, I wouldn’t find it very hard not to use mobile phone or internet for a day or a bit more – I always try to do it when I go on holidays.

    I love my telephone because I can contact my parents with it – I talk with my mum almost every day and I wouldn’t change it for an internet chat. It is always better to hear the voice of the person you’re talking to.

  17. Łukasz G. says:

    If it only depended on me I would definitely take some time off – into the wild.

    • Magda Ł says:

      Into the wild reminds me of a movie under the same title. It’s about a guy that after graduation decides to leave everything and hitchhike, so he goes to Alaska to survive into the wild. I haven’t seen it yet, but my friend recommended it as worth seeing.
      Anyone watched it?

  18. Mr A says:

    For the last five days I was really unplugged because of some weird space/arcane/magical or just plain GSM failure. My phone does not work in my district and neither does the Internet, since its from the same company. I can honestly say it’s great!!

  19. Laska says:

    I believe that the day without cell phone is bullshit. If you don’t want to use your mobile just throw it away and instead of going one day off.

  20. KasiaU2 says:

    That’s bad Alex, bad!!! 😛

  21. Matylda says:

    I used my mobile phone from time to time when I was in the USA,because the roaming was expensive… So I sometimes can live without my mobile phone. 😛
    I watched Into the wild in Memphis two years ago. My aunt recommended it. I also have the book (the English version), but it is hard to read. I read only one chapter. A good movie I also saw in the USA was The Pursuit of Happiness.

  22. Szymon H. says:

    I think that surviving “unplugged” even for a few days isn’t difficult – but only if you aren’t looking forward to important news from someone.

  23. Chrisco says:

    I know that I can deal with being unplugged for a one day.I rather doubt I’m addicted to new technologies.Don’t get me wrong – I love surfing the net,watching TV,listening mp3 pieces…Although I had such pauses a few times and nothing bad happened.We use media every single day for school,work ,entertainment etc.,but sometimes it’s worth to take a break…Read some books or newspapers,talk to people face to face,get the fresh air,focus on essentials…;p

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