The idea of a digital Sabbath has been around for a long time – a day a week or some regular time to switch off our devices and build meaningful relationships with the people around us.
But what is tech good for if not building relationships? Connected devices, like smartphones and tablets, don’t just connect to each other, they connect us to one another – they are the conduits of business relationships and also of meaningful, familial ones. Ask anyone who’s Facetimed a loved one.
So, perhaps it’s not tech that’s the problem – it’s work. And taking regular breaks from it, whether you call it a sabbath or not, can only be a good idea. It marks a time that’s under our control – and it rebells against the speed of modern life.
The problem with calling it a ‘digital sabbath’, and blaming technology, for the intrusiveness of work is that it suggests if we switch off our devices the problem itself is solved.
Much better to think about the social and political, as well as the technological, practices that need to change to improve our relationships with work and the people around us.
Enjoy a break from your work this holiday! And all the best for 2014.