Today—Friday, January 18—will mark the University’s first Screen Free Day: everyone is encouraged to turn off all devices that have a screen and use traditional methods instead of technology to get through the day.
Rev. Chris Valka of Campus Ministry says “Originally the event was going to be called ‘Turn off for Tolerance,’ but the name was changed when the event was made a part of Mental Health Awareness Week.”
Fourth-year concurrent education student J.C. Girard is also participating.
“It’s important to get in touch and re-connect with the people around us, in our immediate presence,” she says. “With the amount of technology we have access to, we get to a point where we are so connected that we’re disconnected.”
Girard says she belongs to the “immediate and entitled” generation.
“Everything is at your fingertips, so people expect to get what they want right now, no waiting,” she says. “Even saying please or thank you seems difficult because people are so busy with their technology that they forget the people that are physically there, right at the moment.”
She expects to struggle herself.
“I have to keep my phone turned off all day. Otherwise, if I get a call, I’ll start looking at my texts, then check my social networking apps, and probably end up playing games on my phone,” Girard admits. “I can’t have my phone near me at all if I do this.”
Participating students can get buttons which say “I’m turned off,” available free at the CAW Student Centre and the Toldo Health Education Centre. Valka also promises board games in the CAW Commons and free hot chocolate for students.
— article and photo by Komal Kundhal