Before the holiday break approximately 260 seventh-graders at Smith Middle School spent time with the seventh-grade counseling team, exploring the concept of addiction to media. As a follow-up activity, the students were challenged to go 24 consecutive hours without using any media (with the exception of a radio and a house phone) during the weekend of January 11-12. This meant no TV, video games, cell phones, ebooks, tablets, iPods, etc!
The purpose of the activity was to evaluate whether or not students could or would actually go 24 hours without media and to have students assess and reflect on their own "addiction" to, or "dependency" on, media. The challenge also encouraged students to find replacement activities to the many hours they typically spend absorbed in media of all kinds.
These were some of the results from the weekend challenge:
- At least 3,649 hours were spent "unplugged" that weekend.
- 56% of students were able to go 24 hours without media.
- On average, students were able to go 18.5 hours without using any media during the 24-hour period.
- On a scale from 0-10 the average self-reported media addiction level was 5.6 out of 10 (10 being completely addicted).
- Students reported feeling like they had more free time, were able to focus better, and were able to spend more quality time with their family (one student said, "My mom was happy because we had an actual conversation").
- Students also reported feeling bored, out of touch, and lonely (one student said, "I just cried all day").