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The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three…
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The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a… (2010)

by Susan Maushart

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1761095,213 (3.89)9
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    A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni (sgump)
    sgump: Here's a book recounting a somewhat related project; what happens to the family over the course of the experiment is as interesting as what the reader learns about the project itself (and its implications, etc.).
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
In 2009, journalist Susan Mauhart came to the realisation that her three children – and herself – were over-consuming screen media (tv. computer games, and predominantly the internet). In fact they were positively inhaling it. Fed up of conversations with the backs of their heads, and not being able to do anything as a family because all they all wanted to do was get back to their screens, she imposed a six month moratorium on all screen related media. This book is a journal of those six months as well as studies and observations about the effect of media – particularly social networks – on individuals, and the knock-on effect on family.

The effect on the family are perhaps not unexpected. After the initial shock, the family began to spend more time together, enjoyed lingering family meals where they would talk – genuinely talk – about their day, and they took up new interests (or resurrected old ones). But despite being able to guess pretty much how the family dynamic would change, this book did make it’s point very well. And bear in mind this experiment was in 2009!! Facebook was big but only five years old – and MySpace was still hugely popular. Twitter was just three years old, and neither Instagram nor Pinterest had even been invented. So as obsessed as Susan’s three teenage children – Anni, Bill and Sussy – seemed to be, it was probably nothing compared to the kind of thing you see everywhere today – people of ALL ages walking round, head down, glued to the phone. People sitting in restaurants together, but both distracted by their own screens. Even the rate of people getting knocked over in traffic has risen year over year since 2013, because of what is known as the ‘head-down generation’ – people crossing the road while looking at their screens instead of traffic.

So this book does provide food for thought, taking into account the effect of too much screen time on babies and toddlers as well as older children and teenagers. I personally found Maushart’s writing style to be witty and engaging, and this made it an easy read. As she herself observes, when writing about social media, everything is out of date almost as soon as it’s printed, and this is writing about something that happened eight years ago, but the point it makes is still valid.

For anyone interested in the effect of social media, I would recommend this book. ( )
  Ruth72 | Oct 24, 2017 |
I really enjoyed the sense of humor that Maushart through into this. Seriously, we all spend too much time glued to one screen or another and she found just how much we are giving up to do so. The research that she did was a fabulous bonus. I also have to give her kids a pat on the back for going along with her on the endeavor. I know that if I told my stepdaughter that we were going screenless for 6 months, she would probably move back to her mom's house. Hmm, now that I think of it...

Also must add, this is one of those nonfiction reads that is great for those that don't usually read nonfiction. Engaging, mostly narrative and really thought provoking without get mired in too many facts. ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
I really enjoyed the sense of humor that Maushart through into this. Seriously, we all spend too much time glued to one screen or another and she found just how much we are giving up to do so. The research that she did was a fabulous bonus. I also have to give her kids a pat on the back for going along with her on the endeavor. I know that if I told my stepdaughter that we were going screenless for 6 months, she would probably move back to her mom's house. Hmm, now that I think of it...

Also must add, this is one of those nonfiction reads that is great for those that don't usually read nonfiction. Engaging, mostly narrative and really thought provoking without get mired in too many facts. ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
An interesting story about a woman who disconnects herself and her family from home laptop/ipod/digital devices and TV for six months, starting cold turkey with no electricity. While it says Winter she's actually dealing with Australian summer, starting in January 2009 she disconnects them all from all the devices and puts them away, pretty much going cold turkey. As they go on with the experiment they discover how dependent they were on these devices and she shares her diary of the period and muses about some of the results of the experiment. At the same time she also interviews the children about this. There are some things they don't go without, the kids are allowed basic phones and she uses her laptop for her work outside of the home.

It did strike close to home, I am one of those people fairly constantly checking my digital devices, though I do try to keep it down occasionally I do recognise some of the issues that she brings up, the lack of concentration, the inability to get projects done, the multitasking up the wazzo. I need to start concentrating more and distracting myself less. She should be glad that it's only Wikipedia she finds distracting, if she ever gets caught in TV tropes... oh man that place can suck you in.

It was interesting to see the effect it had on her three children as well. Though sometimes the LOLs were a bit irritating. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Dec 2, 2011 |
Strangely inspirational story! Can't say I would have the strength or determination to give up all the technology I rely on so heavily! Good read if you want to be challenged.
  Un-readLibrarian | Oct 4, 2011 |
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The author embarked with her three teenagers on a six-month screen blackout (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television) to discover if the technology intended to stimulate and keep us virtually more connected was, as she suspected, making us actually more disconnected and distracted.… (more)

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