In our increasingly digital world, people often feel the need to disconnect from the Internet for a dose of silence and breath of fresh air. Worldcrunch has reported recent stories from Brazil to California, about the hunt for "digital detox" solutions. With the help of the Internet (!), we've tracked down five other examples of people pushing ways to get offline in a flash.
GERMANY: DETOX DINNER
German advertising magazine Horizont writes that telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom is urging customers to detox this holiday season, launching an advertising campaign that portrays a family having Christmas dinner without any technology. The advert shows a fictional family sitting down to have dinner together, after everyone has hidden or shut off their cell phone, tablet, or television.
Deutsche Telekom management has also been pushing employees to limit their online activity, decided to stop sending emails during evenings, holidays and weekends so that employees can detox when they are not at work.
SWITZERLAND: OFFLINE BRUNCH
According to Geneva-based daily Le Temps, residents of the Swiss city seeking digital detox attended a â€œdetox brunchâ€ organized by a local association on Nov. 29. Hosted by a French restaurant with no WiFi connection, the event featured live music, a nursery for children and even a guarded cloakroom where visitors were encouraged to leave their cellphones and other devices.
If attendees took out their devices, others playfully called them out for being â€œaddictsâ€ and straying from the brunch rules. The organization behind the event, Made with Love, chose the concept of a â€œdigital detoxâ€ brunch with the objective of bringing people closer together, away from the distractions of technology.
BELARUS: LOCK THE WEB
If youâ€™re looking for a radical yet foolproof way to cut your Internet use, then Belarus-born American technology writer Evgeny Morozov may have the answer. Morozov is a renowned lecturer and writer on the dangers of modern technology, holding positions at Stanford and Georgetown universities in the past. The Guardian writes that to spend more time reading and writing, he bought a laptop with an easily removable WiFi card so that he canâ€™t surf the web outside his home.
Morozov safely off-line in 2014 â€" Photo: Chatham House
But Morozov doesnâ€™t stop there. Because he has a cable connection at home, he also purchased a safe and a combination lock with a timer, so he can lock away his router and phone for as long as he wants. Morozov also suggests hiding any screwdrivers in the safe â€" lest you get impatient and unscrew the panel before the time is up.
UNITED STATES: APPS AGAINST THE INTERNET
It might seem counterproductive to have to download an app in order to cut yourself off from the Internet, but the Durham, North Carolina startup Freedom proves otherwise. According to the Raleigh-based News & Observer, the app â€" available for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS â€" allows users to block specific websites or cut off access to the Internet altogether. A free version is limited to one device and only five websites, but Freedom offers more expensive packages that allow unlimited blocking.
Several other competitors provide similar services to Freedom, but technology news site Techcrunch reports that a new iPhone app called Moment helps users track their smartphone to better limit it in the future. When downloaded, Moment asks for limits on the usage of certain apps and then disappears, only notifying you in the future if you exceed your daily limits of smartphone usage.
ITALY: MOUNTAIN RETREAT
The Dolomite mountains in northern Italy have long been a favorite destination for tourists in need of fresh mountain air and a retreat from busy city life. Italian daily La Stampa reports that the Mis Valley, a gateway to the Dolomites in the northeastern Veneto region, is being marketed as a â€œdigital detoxâ€ travel destination for its spectacular lakes, waterfalls and mountains.
The local chamber of commerce is promoting several â€œdigital detox walksâ€ for tourists who want to cut themselves off from the Internet and hike among the valleyâ€™s peaks and canyons. Despite being close to the provincial center of Belluno, the valley is almost entirely uninhabited, creating a perfect atmosphere for anyone wishing to rid themselves of electronic distractions.
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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