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Time to turn it off
Time to turn it off
Giacomo Tognini

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.

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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 "detox brunch" 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 "addicts" and straying from the brunch rules. The organization behind the event, Made with Love, chose the concept of a "digital detox" brunch with the objective of bringing people closer together, away from the distractions of technology.


BELARUS: LOCK THE WEB

If you'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 can't surf the web outside his home.

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Morozov safely off-line in 2014 — Photo: Chatham House

But Morozov doesn'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 — 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 — available for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS — 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 "digital detox" travel destination for its spectacular lakes, waterfalls and mountains.


The local chamber of commerce is promoting several "digital detox walks" for tourists who want to cut themselves off from the Internet and hike among the valley'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.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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