Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Reveals a Life Unplugged

NYTimes   BLANK screens. Cellphones on the fritz. Wii games sitting dormant in darkened rec rooms. For a swath of teenagers and preteens on the East Coast, the power failures that followed Hurricane Sandy last month represented the first time in their young lives that they were totally off the grid, without the ability to text, play Minecraft, video-chat, check Facebook, or send updates to Twitter. 

If they wanted to talk to a friend, they had to do it in person. If their first post-storm instincts were to check a weather app, they resigned themselves to battery-run radios.

As the full scope of the storm’s damage became obvious, it was clear these inconveniences were hardly grave. And because most children, and adults, eventually found some kind of connection via an unaffected neighbor (or Starbucks), the withdrawal was often more of a tech diet than a total fast. 

But the storm provided a rare glimpse of a life lived offline. It drove some children crazy, while others managed to embrace the experience of a digital slowdown. It also produced some unexpected ammunition for parents already eager to curb the digital obsessions of their children.

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