I had heard about this assignment in the past, this idea of having students go without any media for 24 hours. I’m not sure who originated it, but it is definitely one of those assignments that has picked up steam among media literacy instructors. I decided to try it out as well, and the results were eye opening.
First of all, it is clear that all my students are very plugged in. Many of them have smartphones, and they use them extensively. Communication, entertainment, information… it all comes intertwined through our pocket-sized devices.
Next, most of my students spoke of the anxiety that resulted from not having their usual media available. Many of them described it in terms of addiction, or in terms of uncertainty about what was going on. Others spoke of media in terms of convenience and scheduling. It is simply easier to organize one’s day when text messaging is an option.
As for myself, I tried doing the media fast. I realized that I missed the background noises from my TV. The apartment was eerily silent, and chores, though they were performed diligently, were just a drag without that background companion. By 8 PM, I broke down and treated myself to Deadwood marathon.