In a media experiment dubbed "Unplugged," university students turn off their phones, computers, and televisions for 24 hours. And they live to blog about it.
"Students reported feeling withdrawal symptoms that were similar to drug or alcohol addiction," said Roman Gerodimos of UK's Bournemouth University, whose first-year students participated in the experiment any day between October 18-24. "The words 'addiction' and 'dependence' kept recurring in their narratives."
Unplugged, headed by the US media-focused nonprofit organization Salzburg Academy, defines itself as "a collaboration between universities and researchers" that aims to examine young people's relationships with the media, including news, music, television, mobiles, and the Internet.
In April, 200 students from the University of Maryland in the US were the first to participate in Unplugged. A news release reported the students described themselves as "in withdrawal," "frantically craving," "miserable," and "crazy."
"I found the day became increasingly harder, and I am ashamed to admit that it was Facebook that I missed the most," blogged Bournemouth University journalism student Sophie Stroud. First-year English student Marianne Canlan added, "Even getting into bed was a challenge without the light of my phone."
To read the blog, visit http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/unplugged/
To watch a BBC video documenting the experiment: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/unplugged/on-the-bbc/