Learning all these studies made me really think I need to make a change. I need to start raise awareness and make people speak about it. So I asked my friends: what are the moments in your life you would rather put your phone down, you would rather put it aside. And then I take few pictures of them. I’ll show you just few examples, doing it with your phone turned down.
After five pictures I took, something overwhelming happened. My email started to fill up with more than 500 photos within two weeks of other people wanting to participate in the campaign and not just from Israel, also from all around the world. Volunteers joined and helped me and we started to get dozens of emails of people telling us amazing stories.
And the best story I would never forget is one that I got from an Australian guy. Not this one. This Australian guy told me how his 14 years old daughter is getting in the room seeing him and his wife looking at the smartphone, totally ignoring him, and she tells them mom, dad, this is so unsocial.
Well, so he decided from then on that in dinner time no one is using the phone for two hours and he wrote me so excited how our campaign really changed him.
The next thing I wanted to do is something about the little kids. So I partnered with a navigator. She is a psychotherapist working with kids to create a book for kids who are addicted to the screens. But it’s not a book that is supposed to scare the kids or tell them to not use the smartphones anymore or any screen. It’s a book to encourage them to go out and look at the world and see how amazing and beautiful the world is out there.
Well, for sure, our biggest event was on last March. That was the day and night of unplugging. A few years ago, there was a new tradition in the U.S. San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, small groups started to celebrate one day of unplugging for a year. For 24 hours we put the smartphone somewhere else and we just enjoy whatever there is.
Shai Netzer, a good friend and a partner in this project decided we must get it to Tel Aviv and make it the biggest event ever. And so we did. For two months we went all over Tel Aviv convincing people to join us but actually we didn’t have to convince. The feedback was so good we had yoga studios, coffee shops and the best bars in Tel Aviv, not allowing people to get with their smartphones inside their businesses that day.
They also missed the time when people really actually used to engage with each other. We learned a lot in the day of unplugging.
24 hours is enough time for someone to get out of the anxiety and really start to connect back to real life. But I must say if you think I’m against technology or against the smartphone, you didn’t get me right.
The smartphone is an amazing device. It’s a magical device. I’m in love with it, not just as a device also as a technologist. And there are also amazing applications that are really positive. They can help me grow habits like a diet, meditation, running, and so on. And it’s doing so much good to science.
But having said that we still know that the changes we’ve seen in the last few years are nothing compared to what we are going to face in the next decade or two. We’re facing Google Glass get starting to get really commercial, now cooperating with the popular eyewear brand Ray-Ban.
And Google has a patent pending which is that for a contact lens you can really use by blinking. And what about wearable technology? Clothes, watches — this is the big trend.
So eventually technology will be embedded in our physical bodies, and our future can be even more hectic and less relaxed than what we do today — unless we make a change.
And I do not want to speak about unplugging, I want to speak about a diet. Some apps remind me junk food but other applications are like healthy organic food. And just like we became aware to what we eat, we need to become aware to what and how much we consume.
The Western world saw many cases of diabetes and then we decided to start educating our kids and ourselves about sugar balance, right? So why can’t we do it for the digital diet? And it’s up to me and you to start thinking about it and understand how this digital diet is about to look like.
So let’s start doing today.