Unplugging from Technology

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6-inch Retina display smartphones, touchscreen laptops, tablets for reading digital books with hundreds of other applications and 50-inch televisions with 3D technology; with the ever-growing advancements of technology, our lives can seem dictated by tech applications like Siri and Netflix. Technology is a part of our lives, and it isn’t going away anytime soon, but that may not always be a good thing. Sometimes a break from technology is needed to regroup and realize our lives away from it. Students at MSU utilize a great amount of technology in their studies, but they also find ways to unplug from it.

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Morgan Harris, a sophomore engineering student, understands both her life with and without technology. “I use technology every day to complete projects, labs and assignments.” Outside of the classroom she isn’t the most tech-savvy student you’ll meet. “I’m not a huge fan of social media, so I’m definitely not attached to my smartphone like some of my friends — I know when to step away from it.” She cites a multitude of activities that help her to unplug. “I like to spend a lot of time outside hunting, running and playing sports. I also like reading novels, magazines and newspapers.”

And Harris isn’t wrong about her fellow students’ technology use; specifically on smartphones. According to a 2013 survey completed by eMarketer, Americans today average five hours of use a day on their smartphones and computers. It’s easy to become addicted to technology like smartphones, and finding ways to unplug can seem challenging for today’s college students.

Sabrina Bava, a freshmen majoring in general management, is also discovering the increased use of technology in college versus high school. “The biggest difference I found is how dependent I’ve become on technology, specifically on class websites. I need to check them almost daily to make sure I’m on top of my studies.” When asked how she unplugs, Bava says, “I read a book, hang out with friends or work out.”

Bava isn’t the only one who participates in these types of activities. According to studies done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend almost 20 minutes a day reading and another 20 minutes engaging in recreational activities and exercise. At MSU, many students take advantage of the places on campus to unplug. The recreation and fitness centers offer exercise equipment and a variety of intramural sports. Students who aren’t interested in sports may visit the Union for crafts, music nights, cosmic bowling and other technology-free events. From the dining halls to the Main Library, students on MSU’s campus can ditch their smartphones for a good conversation or book.

While students may feel a need to constantly stay updated through technology, there is also a need to unplug from it every so often. Unplugging may offer a feeling of relaxation, refreshment and satisfaction. Finding pleasure in a paperback novel or jogging through East Lansing’s trails can be quite rewarding. No longer feeling attached to technology, if even for a few minutes, can invigorate students. Whether you decide to sign up for a marathon or just want to read the newest issue of Cosmopolitan, there are many ways to unplug from technology and find happiness in doing so.

Tags: February