Being media-free, together

by Konstantin Weiss on January 10, 2021

Here is what we've tried out during the last 24 hours: being off-line, off-screen, off-input, together.

Start: Saturday, 8pm;
Stop: Sunday, 8pm

We've switched all of our computers and devices in the household. Smartphones, watches, tablets, laptops, desktops, radio, TV, consoles. Only the smart speaker stayed on, and yes, we've indeed listened to music only.

Other than music, books, and magazines, we restrained from any input. We kept our landline phone on, and in fact called my parents one time. That's it.

We don't have a name for it yet. It's not really off-line, because the HomePod was on, and the landline phone. It's not really off-screen, because we don't care if the washing machine shows something on its screen. It's not off-input, because books are welcome - input at your own pace. And it's not off-time, since we did not spend time alone, we stayed together.

Infact, we've talked a lot. Most of the time, some conversation was going on, either between our son and one of us parents, or all of us. And it was welcomed. There was no rush, no "being in your mind somewhere else".

Another observation: we had time for the so-called Default Mode Network brain activity. That's when you're idle, with no task at hand, and with no distraction, and your brain performs the "idle actions" of thinking about your near ones, your relationships with others, and maybe some important but not urgent tasks, which you've forgotten about while being constantly busy.

Our son said: "I so much enjoy this. You [,my parents], are off screens, so I feel you're available." He had time to talk about banal things, but also what moves him, what he felt during the last series, and about his friendships. It's indeed precious to have space for such conversations to happen.

All of us, we felt that these 24 hours were precious. We will do it again, next week between 8pm Saturday, and Sunday 8pm. And it's going to be good.

What are we going to call this kind of time? Let's see. But one thing is for sure: we're all looking forward to the next week and to the next time.

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