Pulling the Plug on Technology

Friday, January 28, 2011

Susan Maushart tells us what happened when she decided to pull the plug on her family's electronics for six months—iPods, PCs, video games, iphones and all. In The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale she shares the story of how her family discovered that having fewer tools to communicate with actually led them to communicate more.


Susan Maushart

Comments [25]

Alan from New York

I understand literary criticism, but some of the comments seem so ad hominem! Why the harshness? I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's so easy for mean-spirited people to vent on-line.

Apr. 05 2011 01:54 PM

Perhaps this woman has a lot in common with Amy Chua.

Jan. 28 2011 03:52 PM

Kay, the book you're looking for is written by Amy Chua. Some thing about a 'Tiger Mom'. You really can't miss it, since this woman is being covered EVERYWHERE.

Jan. 28 2011 03:48 PM
Danny from Westchester

The project like others of this type seems indulgent and simple no matter how many data points the author has. Why would you deny your children every option to gain knowledge? My 4 year old fashioned a trebuchet out of Tinker Toys after watching the Discovery Channel. I think it’s a perfect foil to the Authors argument, a perfect marriage of old and new school.

It is very simple to build a wall and stand behind it. It is much different to live and learn walking outside that wall.

Jan. 28 2011 01:57 PM
Kay Dillinger

In the interview, the author and interviewer mentioned another book (possibly by Amy Cho? or something that sounded like that), on parenting / tough love, etc. I checked on Amazon, but couldn't find it? It sounded interesting... Does anyone know what the book is?

Jan. 28 2011 01:39 PM
Nicole Palitti from Blauvelt, ny

I don't understand the level of anger in this post. When ever anyone does something against the grain, it's like whoa~ You don't have to travel to a faraway place to unplug. Just be the parent and stand up for your values, and don't let the corporate culture determine who our kids are and how they behave! We take a balanced approach, it's not all or none, but most. We try and ask ourselves why we are letting our kids view media and if it's to keep them busy or occupied then the mental addition is no. Our kids only see the world we show them, especially important in the early years....

Jan. 28 2011 01:15 PM
Erika from Brooklyn

I am so energized by Susan's exercise and surprised at the negative feedback. Boredom is internal not external. Direct attention and time together is a gift.

Jan. 28 2011 01:07 PM

Julie Cameron has a week of disconnect in The Artist's Way. I was amazed how much I got done and how much better I felt during that time.

Jan. 28 2011 01:04 PM
Caroline from NJ

You nailed it Veronica. The dithering DOCTOR can go, but please spare Lenny. I hear you, but I love Lenny.

Jan. 28 2011 01:03 PM
Fafa from Harlemworld

Agree with the guest's observations. Digital communication has increased quantity and decreased quality of communication (if quality=depth), just like iPods emphasize quantity vs. quality of music...
But the best thing about this discourse is the discourse itself; is that we are conscious and considerate of the tech effect.

Jan. 28 2011 01:02 PM
Nicole Palitti from Blauvelt, ny

I pulled the plug on my oldest when she was 3 yrs. old and having 45 min. tantrums when I turned off Sesame Street. It has been almost six years later and have had to move her and her sisters to a progressive private school in order to support our family values. The media corruption begins at a very early age. our children are happy, not bored, and the absolute most creative, best things they come up with generally come 10 mins. after a major fit of boredom!
Wish this was more supported in public school system!~

Jan. 28 2011 01:00 PM

I hear a lot of "I" in this conversation - imposing this on her kids - you make your life interesting or not

Jan. 28 2011 01:00 PM

I know a 3 year old who uses her mother's iPhone to surf youtube and has taught herself spanish, though neither parent speaks it. There are good ways to use technology.

Jan. 28 2011 12:59 PM
Harry from Scarsdale, NY

I enjoy a "blackberry Sabbath" starting on Friday sundown and ending Saturday sundown. I may carry my device but only for emergency phone calls. This helps me disconnect and regain perspective.

Jan. 28 2011 12:59 PM

Is it just me or does this woman come off as a complete self-aggrandizing phony?

Jan. 28 2011 12:58 PM
dboy from nyc


... and I hate technology!

Jan. 28 2011 12:57 PM

OF COURSE, private school, and did the nanny participate in this experiment too?

Jan. 28 2011 12:56 PM
Lisa from Brooklyn

I think we invented the computer because we thought the world was fascinating and we wanted to learn more about it.

Jan. 28 2011 12:56 PM

Boy is she annoying and pretentious! I would want to run far away from her. I would be very happy not to talk to her.

Jan. 28 2011 12:55 PM

A whole chapter on boredom in her book - why is that not surprising. Zzzzzzzz .....

Jan. 28 2011 12:55 PM

please, moderation, compromises, but 6 months with and 6 without!! gimme a break,

oh BTW, Thoreau, lived on his parents land in his parents cabin and when it got cold or he was hungry, he went to the big house for a warm meal or night's sleep.

susan you would do well to read or reread "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance."

hooey, i say, hooey.


Jan. 28 2011 12:54 PM

Good for you! Those folks who still have to contend with the digital divide would applaud your move--at least you seem to have a choice! More snotty revelations!

Jan. 28 2011 12:54 PM
Alex from NYC

Agree with Danie's comments. Also, what steps have you taken to set your kids free from media exploitation in the form of being used for your experiment and book? The guest strikes me as self-involved and defensive.

Jan. 28 2011 12:53 PM
veronica from nj

We have become a nauseating society of self indulgent and self-important sheeple
as shows and authors like this amply
demonstrate.Golly, formerly great shows like LL have morphed into stomach turning presentations! Let's throw out the sheeple with the technology!

Jan. 28 2011 12:51 PM

It seems to me that pulling the plug on excessive poor use of technology only to fill the gap with other wastes of time is in no way beneficial. Replacing chat/skype with the landline seems like a meaningless exchange.

Jan. 28 2011 12:50 PM

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