Media deprivation is survivable


Taylor Ewald

I encouraged you all in a previous article to go without media for 24 hours and “enjoy life’s simple pleasures for once.” Well, did you?

I did, and so did my entire Northeast Community College Public Relations class over our recent winter break. Some students prevailed through both the 24 and 72 hour media deprivations, however, others students failed miserably.  

Our instructor Melissa Lemke-Elznic created this assignment to pose the question, are we addicted to media? She said,

“If we are addicted to something, by definition, alcohol, food, drugs, sex, whatever, we get help for those things. We go to meetings, we go to rehab, whatever.….We get help. Or we encourage people to get help. Do we need help for our media addiction?”

The amount of times that students went without media during our media deprivation assignment varied. One student lasted a mere 4 hours and another student ended up watching YouTube for the entire day. No student in the class was able to say that they completely went without media for the entire 24 hours. We as a class concluded that it was impossible due to outside forces out of our control.

So this begs the question posed by Lemke-Elznic, “Should you avoid media for 24 hours?”

Student Wendonda Koala said “Currently, I don’t think so. Because with the world, I think, you can get a lot of quick information through media that you couldn’t get from anywhere else.”

I ran into the problem that Wendonda brings up: I didn’t know what was going on in the world. I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like or what was happening locally. I felt uninformed and disconnected from the world around me.

However, I felt free, free from distractions, free from opinion, and free from funny cat videos. I didn’t feel tied down to a computer or glued to my phone. I left all my devices at home and walked out the door to enjoy life in it’s simplest form.

That does not mean I escaped this world full of media completely for 24 hours. Student Kaharri Cannon said “I don’t really think you can truly avoid media for 24 hours unless you’re living like in the stone age.”

Cannon is exactly right. Living in Norfolk, Nebraska, it was impossible for me to avoid media for 24 hours. Student Brooke Gettman said “I couldn’t drive through Norfolk without hearing music coming from the downtown area speakers or hearing the sound of the TV from another room.”

The whole class agreed that this assignment was an eye opener. We all understood that media,specifically social media, usage is a much bigger and dangerous epidemic than the general public realize.  It’s interfering in personal lives, education, families, everything around us is affected by the media and all of it’s forms.

Kaharri says that “technology and the media are incorporating people’s whole lives into a device.” This has revolutionized the world we live in and made it easier to connect with anyone in the world. However, we must all remember we survived without the media before it existed like it does today and we can survive for a couple hours without checking to see what people are up to on Facebook or other sites.

I chose to prolong this media deprivation assignment in my own life. I decided that I spend way too much time on Facebook,checking it several times in an hour.  I have gone 3 weeks without checking Facebook, and it really has changed my daily life and routine.

I no longer care what people are up to and don’t feel the need to update others on my life. I communicate with my actual friends and family more and have time for activities like homework and exercising.

If you find yourself in a situation much like mine was, checking your media constantly throughout the day, I strongly suggest you try a “media cleanse” or media deprivation. You’ll thank me later.

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