To celebrate Holy Week — the seven days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday — a group of interfaith leaders wants you to get unplugged. Stepping away from your iPad, smartphone or laptop will allow you to connect with nature, art and the world around you, they say.
“How can you hear the voice of God with the TV on so loud?” asks the So We Might See coalition.
“Screen-Free Week” is meant to encourage people to engage in activities that do not involve any thin-film transistors, parallax barrier LCDs or Gorilla Glass — actual_ face time as opposed to Face Time, in other words. The coalition even has a list of 101 recommended activities you can do instead. The No. 1 choice is “listen to the radio,” in a breathtaking display of irony.
This is the last week of Lent, when many Catholics have already been “fasting” by giving up some item in preparation for Easter. The Vatican has not issued any Screen-Free endorsement, as far as we can tell. As popes go, Benedict XVI is pretty tech-savvy, hosting a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and even supporting (with some caveats) an iPhone app designed to help Catholics prepare for confession.
But in his Palm Sunday message, he did discuss how technology can threaten man’s relationship with God.
The group offers plenty of statistics about technology use, especially among young kids, to drive home the point that we could all use a break now and then. Or just give Catholics something else to feel guilty about this week.