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Tech Timeout Challenges Three-Day Disconnect From Technology

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Marty Riemer and Michael Stusser spoke with KOLR10’s Rob Evans Friday morning about their award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri, and the Tech Timeout challenge.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Marty Riemer and Michael Stusser spoke with KOLR10’s Rob Evans Friday morning about their award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri, and the Tech Timeout challenge.

Marty Riemer and Michael Stusser spoke with KOLR10’s Rob Evans Friday morning about their award-winning documentary called Sleeping with Siri and the Tech Timeout challenge.

Rob: Michael, let me start off with you. We have the Ipad, the Iphone, the Ipod, I don't own a map, I have a GPS, I don't own a watch because I have a cell phone. What are some of the problems surrounding the growing dependence on digital devices?

Michael: Well I think it can be overwhelming, it's also we love technology but teenagers today, they send and receive about 3700 texts a month, spend about 11 hours a day online multitasking...speaking of multitasking...Marty it's live man.

Marty: No, I’m tweeting...it's what you do these days.

Rob: Are you taking selfies over there Marty?

Marty: Of course Rob! That's what we do

Michael: This is part of the problem though, we spend so much time sharing our information, uploading our information that we're not living in the present moment a lot of the times, so we'll try and make eye contact with you.

Rob: When you and your wife, or your kids are in a room together, how often is it honestly that you all are looking down on your smart phones? Because for me, I’m upset to say it's true, we all go to dinner and we're playing on our Ipads and Iphones and we don't ever talk. Is that your families and lives too?

Michael: absolutely, we're no different than anyone. Kids are challenged. They love it, it's social, but we're finding that parents are equally to blame...not to blame, but they're inundated

Marty: So we're going to these schools and doing these Tech Timeout academic challenges, and we're finding that one of the big obstacles is parents. Adults have a difficult time giving up their technology, but what's surprising is the difficult time having their kids give up the technology because they like to be tethered to them. So this is a great experience.

Rob: Can you explain the Tech Timeout?

Michael: The Tech Timeout academic challenge, we challenge students to give up their digital devices for three solid days. No texting, no Facebook, no video games, and reflect on the experience. Our goal is, thanks to this relationship we've developed with Forresters, to bring this to every school in North America.

Rob: What do you think you're going to learn from this, and what the kids are going to learn more importantly about being detached for three days?

Marty: We're under no illusion that a kid is going to give up his cell phone after taking the Tech Timeout academic challenge, but we just want to put the scales back in balance somewhat. Every great invention in history came from moments of serious intense reflection, and that's what we're denying ourselves and our kids by always having a phone to fall back on.

Rob: Where can we get more info?

Michael: techtimeout.com/academicchallenge

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