A Life Without Gadgets

The UK’s “Daybreak” (iTV) is kind of “The Today Show” with posh accents … this segment was featured during their recent “Parent Week.”  Check out the editing – presenter Nick Dixon confessed to being mega-proud of it. And the crime-scene tape is a killer!

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Featured in People Magazine!

OK, so maybe we do look like members of some creepy cult here. But it’s People, people! Trust me, we’re . . . → Read More: Featured in People Magazine!

The Huffington Post :: The Lost Art of Staring Into Space

The Lost Art of Staring Into Space
Elizabeth Benedict

“Which do you prefer — sex or a pastrami sandwich?” one guy asks another, though it’s not a proposition but a light-hearted survey. “To tell you the truth,” the other guy says, “sometimes the sandwich.” This exchange is lodged in my memory, overheard a dozen years ago at a restaurant.

It reminds me of a scene from last Sunday at the Buttercup Bake Shop near my apartment, a heartbreaking power struggle involving competing temptations: technology, love and sugar. I watched a girl, about 10 years old, eat a cupcake and try to get her mother’s attention, but Mom had eyes and fingers only for her iPhone. There was no evidence she’d even eaten a cupcake. She scrolled through emails for the entire time I sat next to them, 20 minutes. iPhone 1 – Cupcake 0. iPhone 1 – Daughter 0.

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The A.V. Club Book Review :: The Winter of Our Disconnect

The Onion weighs in … in typical style. Love the shout-out to Hollywood that kicks it all off. Nancy Meyers, are you listening?

The Onion Review :: The Winter of Our Disconnect
Tasha Robinson

If Susan Maushart’s book The Winter Of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (And A Mother Who Slept With Her iPhone) Pulled The Plug . . . → Read More: The A.V. Club Book Review :: The Winter of Our Disconnect

ABC StoryCatcher Series

One of my favorite gigs EVER was acting as executive producer/presenter for ABC Radio’s  StoryCatcher project a life-story series inspired by NPR’s amazing StoryCorps initiative. (For the full Storycatcher story, head to http://www.abc.net.au/perth/storycatcher/ )

Some of the best stories we caught were put together into a 10-part summer series – Australian summer, that is -  broadcast nationally in Dec 2010/Jan 2011. Here’s the complete series, along with download links.

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The Boston Globe: Without being wired, family connected again

My fantasy review … written by Chuck Leddy (aka my new best friend) at The Boston Globe.

Without being wired, family connected again
Chuck Leddy

Susan Maushart, a divorced mother of three teenagers, noticed how digital technology, from Facebook to online gaming to constant text messaging, had fractured her family into independent fiefdoms. Connected only to their devices and their online “friends,’’ the Maushart family had stopped eating together and rarely held real-world conversations. As Maushart puts it, “I started considering . . . the possibility that the more we connect, the further we may drift, the more fragmented we may become.’’

After rereading “Walden,’’ about Henry David Thoreau’s famous two-year stint living in solitude alongside a Concord pond, Maushart, a journalist and social scientist with a doctorate from New York University in communication arts and science, was inspired to begin her own experiment in mindful living: For a six-month period, she would allow her family no in-home access to any screen, including computers, cellphones, and televisions. Needless to say, her teenagers were less than thrilled, but, as Maushart’s provocative, funny, and highly personal memoir shows, it changed them all profoundly.

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OMG, when did we start talking like txt msgs?

“ILY!” Susan Maushart’s 16-year-old daughter often calls out over her shoulder as she leaves the house. Sure, actual words would be better. But Mom knows not to complain. . . . → Read More: OMG, when did we start talking like txt msgs?

Irish Times: Information Flatulence

Karen Lillington wrote a phenomenal article for the Irish Times titled “Information Flatulence“. Great title, too  - am pretty sure it’s taken from the book, now that I immodestly think about it …

It’s fascinating to see how various countries are viewing “the experiment.” I’ve had mail from China, Poland, Spain, Chile, Korea, Turkey, Hungary … and  Brazil, where the publishing rights have just been sold. There’s no doubt about it. Sometimes technology really can be our friend.

Information Flatulence
Karen Lillington

WHEN TWO small girls, aged 10 and 12, were trapped in a storm drain in Australia in 2009 they might easily have perished. Fortunately, they had their mobile phones with them and immediately sought help – by updating their status on their Facebook pages. Lucky for them, a schoolfriend quickly saw the update, the authorities were notified and they all lived happily ever after.

The story, one of many amusingly telling yet quietly alarming anecdotes in Susan Maushart’s The Winter of Our Disconnect , perfectly illustrates her starting premise that Digital Natives – those children and young adults who have never known anything but a life with their faces turned towards screens and the internet – think and act differently from those of us who can remember a world before “friend” became a verb.

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Sussy, Anni and I featured on the Today Show

Cringe! TV is sooo not my medium. But when Sussy and I (along with a special guest via Skype … ANNI!!!!!!) were summoned to 30 Rock – aka 30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka NBC – to be interviewed by Meredith Vierira on the Today Show to discuss “the experiment” that was our 6-month tech detox we sure . . . → Read More: Sussy, Anni and I featured on the Today Show

15 Books to Watch for in January 2011

From a riveting memoir of a woman’s tormented relationship with her mother to the life lessons gleaned from overcoming a debilitating disease, O’s editors pick 15 amazing reads to start the year. . . . → Read More: 15 Books to Watch for in January 2011