Read The Winter Of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled The Plug On Their Technology And Lived To Tell by Susan Maushart Online


The wise and hilarious story of a family who discovered that having fewer tools to communicate with led them to actually communicate more. When Susan Maushart first announced her intention to pull the plug on her family's entire armory of electronic weaponry for six months-from the itsy-bitsiest iPod Shuffle to her son's seriously souped-up gaming PC-her three kids didn'tThe wise and hilarious story of a family who discovered that having fewer tools to communicate with led them to actually communicate more. When Susan Maushart first announced her intention to pull the plug on her family's entire armory of electronic weaponry for six months-from the itsy-bitsiest iPod Shuffle to her son's seriously souped-up gaming PC-her three kids didn't blink an eye. Says Maushart: "Looking back, I can understand why. They didn't hear me." For any parent who's ever IM-ed their child to the dinner table, this account of one family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you LOLing with recognition. But it will also make you think. "The Winter of Our Disconnect" challenges readers to examine the toll that technology is taking on their own family connections, and to create a media ecology that instead encourages kids-and parents-to thrive. Indeed, as a self-confessed single mom who "slept with her iPhone," Maushart knew her family's exile from Cyburbia wasn't going to be any easier for her than for her three teenagers, ages fourteen, fifteen, and eighteen. Yet they all soon discovered that the rewards of becoming "unplugged" were more rich and varied than any cyber reality could ever be....

Title : The Winter Of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled The Plug On Their Technology And Lived To Tell
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781846684647
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Winter Of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled The Plug On Their Technology And Lived To Tell Reviews

  • Anthony Eaton
    2019-04-01 02:18

    This is an important book. And to follow on from this grand opening statement, I'm going to make another.This book changed the way I live.If you follow my blog, or know me, or have seen my office, you'll know that I'm something of a techno-junkie. Not hardcore, you understand, I can quit it at any time, and I just like the way it makes me feel, but nevertheless, I'm typing this review up on my iBook, which is hooked up to two screens for easier data management. Beside me on the desk is my iPad (portable internet, you understand, essential in my line of work), my iPhone ( connected) and my windows-based PC (Just in case, you know, the Apple empire suddenly collapses, or I need to do something in powerpoint, or on a couple of other more specialist applications I have on it)A week or so back, I was showing a colleague how I've moved to entirely paper-free classes. All my class management documents are now iPad friendly. When I go to meetings, I load all agendas etc... onto my iPad. When I'm at home, watching QandA on a monday night, I generally have either my laptop or my iPad close at hand. Got to see what the zeitgeist is saying, after all.So yeah, I like my technology.When I read Susan Maushart's account of her family's self-imposed six month 'blackout', where they literally went cold turkey on screens of all shapes and sizes, it was fair to say that I was squarely in the target audience.I don't want to give away anything substantial here - this is a book you need to read and think about for yourself. I will say, however, that since reading it I no longer tweet from in front of the TV. When I get home at night, I don't check my email any more. Once I walk through the front door, I put my iPhone on its charger in the bedroom and there it stays until the following morning. And on the weekends, my laptop stays in its bag, and the iPad doesn't come out to play.And, you know something? Doing this has made my life better. I'm spending more time engaged with the rest of my family. More time reading again. More time switched on to the real world around me, and more time actually getting things done. I've disengaged from the virtual world, and I'm thinking more clearly, and being a better husband and father as a result.So yeah, this is an important book. It's beautifully researched, thought provoking, convincing and will have an impact on you. Read it. Especially if you, like me, suffer from low (ie: high) level technology obsession.(Oh, yeah, in case you're wondering the book lost 1 star on the review because I grew up in Perth, and quite like the place. But that's just me being petty. Apart from that - brilliant.)

  • Ellie
    2019-03-29 23:14

    The Winter of Our Disconnect is the author's take on Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods-in her case, her pulling the plug for herself and her three teens on the digital world for six months.The book is uneven in quality-I found the interspersing of journal entries with straightforward narrative an interesting idea that nevertheless felt awkward and not fully integrated into the text-but the information about the digital world and its effect on our children was fascinating. I also enjoyed the stories of the experience on herself and her children. As the mother of two plugged-in teens (well, one young adult), I was in awe of her courage in pulling the plug and happy to read how well it went.Although I would not call this a "great" book, I would strongly recommend it to parents and teachers and anyone interested in the effect of being digital immigrants (us older people) and digital natives (those born or brought young into this culture). It's an easy read with lots of interesting and even important pieces of information.

  • Deb
    2019-03-24 03:27

    I'm not sure how I came across this book--some random search probably, which is funny considering the content. At any rate, I was intrigued by the premise: a single mother with 3 teenagers--all tethered to their technology 24/7 (including the mom)--unplugs the family for 6 months. They go completely screen-free at their house (and even electricity-free for the first month). The results are really only surprising if you're the kind of person who's never lived without the latest gadget or limited your media consumption. In short, they get their family back.Maushart does a good job of not demonizing technology, but she has done her research & she includes a lot of it in the book. The anecdotal aspect of it--journaling her family's experiences along the way--is by far the most compelling and entertaining, although I found myself annoyed at times by the repeated use of texting acronyms (I don't text, and even if I did, I would not in a million years use LOL; I guess in Maushart's terms that makes me a Digital Immigrant.) and appalled/incredulous at others by the lives of her children (to add to the mounting evidence that I am woefully out of touch with youth culture). I couldn't help but feel vindicated, though, by my discomfort with the way we "connect" these days or how we imagine that having hundreds of online "friends" is in any way a substitute for real-life, flesh-and-blood interaction. Give me one person who will take the time to have coffee with me over 100 virtual friends any day. Maushart & the research are totally in my corner on this. The more "connected" we are, the more isolated we become. And don't even get me started on the violence that Facebook has done to the word "friend."Our family is in Day 2 of our annual Lenten TV blackout, and while Scott and I look forward to this time every year, I can see that our 2 year old is having serious withdrawal issues (and she doesn't even really watch much TV. Honest!). This gives me pause. If you are a parent of teenagers or adolescents, reading this book is a good idea (or if you will one day be in that category). So much of how we live our lives is done according to what everyone else is doing or by drifting into patterns of behavior because we don't have the energy or creativity to imagine a different way or resist current trends. And that's just lazy.I'm not saying we should go back to pre-technology days, and neither is Maushart. But making conscious choices about the role of technology in our lives and families is definitely in order. Perhaps this book will convince others as well.One final note: I found the end of the book disappointing and sad, really. At the end of the 6 months, the family gleefully goes back to their technology-saturated lives, albeit with a few adjustments. Not sure what I expected, but it felt like a let-down.

  • Robin Nicholas
    2019-03-24 20:36

    A mom and her 3 teenagers (ages 14, 15, and 18) were going to "unplug" for 6 months to see how their lives would change. To begin with, the level that they were "plugged In" was utterly disgusting. Everyone including mom, were either on a laptop, a gaming system, or their phone pretty much 24 hours a day. There were literally NO rules. The 14 year old was allowed to sleep with her laptop on her lap. Apparently, she didn't really sleep that well (duh), so she wanted to be able to play games and chat with people whenever she was awake. Are you kidding me!!! That alone takes away any credibility that this woman has as a parent. Anyway...... Everyone agreed to unplug for six months to see what would happen. EXCEPT...they got to keep their phones (no texting) and they could use their laptops away from the house, and they could go use their friends gaming systems at their houses, and they could go stay with their Dad as often as they wanted too. So, as you can see...NOT quite totally unplugged. The good news is that being unplugged at home did create some positive changes in their household. More instrument playing, more cooking, more reading, more conversation. Intermixed with the authors diary of the day to day changes was the research the author did on computers and screen time. Honestly she seemed like she was finding research to back up the fact that kids and adults are spending more and more time connected. That our brains are actually changing and that we process differently. We are faster, we multi-task, we are still reading....just in shorter bits and from more resources. Overall, there were a few parts that made me think. However, I was so put off by the level of non-parenting going on in their house I couldn't take it that seriously.

  • Kathy Hiester
    2019-04-07 04:10

    I searched high and low at the chain bookstores before finally breaking down and ordering The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart from Amazon. I just want to let you know that I sit here writing this I have my email, facebook, and two blogs open in Firefox on my computer.Maushart is a single parent of three who after questioning the effect of decides to enforce a six-month ban of technology in the house, and write about the development. She actually has significant doubt up until the very minute she pulls the plug.What makes this a wonderful read is its sense of balance. Maushart alternates between journaling her family’s experiences and observations with a bit more detachment and scrutiny. I had to laugh out loud because I recognized my family throughout the book. The book is not a case to shut your media off but instead it’s a wake-up call to scrutinize how the media that we use uses us. One of the most interesting points the book makes is about multitasking, the conception that you can work, have five chat windows open, be reading four websites and listening to music and/or talking on the phone is ridiculous.For myself, even before I started reading this book, I’ve already somewhat minimalizing when the TV is on and I am reading it is most likely turned to soundscape for the music. I have also removed the laptop from the bedroom. The only thing that I have not made a concession on is my IPhone but then again it is also my alarm clock and falling asleep listening to an audiobook can’t be all bad right?5 STARS!!!!!

  • Donna Lyn
    2019-04-17 04:13

    wasn't what i thought it would be (a diary or tale of their experience). it had some of that but it was all over the place and tons of (ironically) googled studies that all contradicted each other leaving no formed opinions on anything. even the bliss of unplugging was replaced by the bliss of redoing the family room to welcome back the gadgets after 5 months of bribery (she paid her kids to abstain). the overuse of LOL was annoying and "blobbiness"? i read the whole thing in an Australian accent only to find out in the last chapter that she still had a NY accent (she would say LOL). bottom line for me: interesting but annoying.

  • L.J.
    2019-04-11 04:11

    The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale Susan Maushart, Penguin, $16.95 trade paper (329p) ISBN 978-1-58542-855-7 Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) embarked with her three teenagers on a six-month screen blackout (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television) to discover if the technology intended to stimulate and keep us virtually more connected was, as she suspected, making us actually more disconnected and distracted. Ironically, Maushart may have gone screen-dark, but her writing remains riddled with "textspeak"--"LOLs," "WTFs," emoticons--and exhausting chipperness and self-conscious "hipness," which all distract from an otherwise intelligent and eloquent core text. Funny and poignant precisely when it is not trying to be, this book vacillates between diary entries (written longhand) and deeply researched reportage, which brings needed balance to the subject of new media, often touted as either the answer to all of our problems or the accelerant of societal doom. What Maushart's experiment uncovers is a commonsense conclusion: in a world of proliferating demands on our attention, exercising the on/off switch is the ultimate practice in understanding connection.

  • Lada Moskalets
    2019-04-23 03:18

    Експеримент американської журналістки, яка вирішила на півроку перетворити свій дім на screen-free зону - без смартфонів, планшетів, телевізорів і т.д. Найголовніше, що цим також мали перестати користуватися троє дітей-підлітків авторки, яких вона підкупила, пообіцявши поділитися гонораром від майбутньої книжки. С'юзан надихалася насамперед Генрі Торо і протягом всього експерименту вона порівнює свої враження з його. Дуже багато роздумів (з ухилом в "куди котиться наш світ") на тему того, як інтернет і безмежний доступ до інформації змінюють дітей. Насправді авторка достатньо скептично ставиться до ідеї того, що інтернет створив новий тип людини і гадає, що систематичність і зосередженість значно важливіші в будь-якій роботі, аніж multi-tasking - в який вона взагалі не вірить. Незважаючи на необмежений доступ до знань, небачений в інші епохи, її діти (як і вона сама) левову частку часу в інтернеті проводили у фейсбуці та інтернет-шоппінгу. Характерно, що ця нескладна ідея, виглядала достатньо дивною для її друзів, які дивилися на С'юзан як на жорстоку матір-фанатичку.

  • Karla Butler
    2019-04-17 20:11

    I'm not a fan of non-fiction but I thought this was an interesting premise for a book. A single mother of 3 teenagers decides to pull the plug on technology for a couple of months. By doing so, she learns that there is more to life than toying with your I-Phone or connecting with your friends on Facebook. Susan Maushart includes many sociological studies to underline her point that something is wrong. While we have more access to technological communication, our innate social skills have somewhat waned. While Maushart waxes lyrical about this experiment, the true heroes are her teenage kids who end up improving their grades at school and take on some new hobbies along the way. I don't know if I would read this book again but it's certainly a good conversation topic and Susan Maushart's funny chatty style of writing is a great way of making this subject palatable.

  • Ellen
    2019-04-19 03:26

    I got this book for a dollar or two off Amazon after seeing a blurb about it somewhere online (yes, a little ironic). I'd already been thinking about this issue for a while, feeling uneasy about the increasingly obvious effects of my lack of restraint when it came to media usage. It was definitely ironic that the day after I ordered the book, we ran over our monthly internet allotment, and I ended up reading it during the ensuing weeklong web-access hiatus. Hah.In this book, Susan Maushart discusses in very real, specific, and disturbing terms the ways that media gluttony was affecting her own teenage children and their peers worldwide. Citing studies and analyses covering a broad spectrum of opinion, she addresses boredom, creativity, media addiction, multi-tasking, productivity, friendships and "connectivity", eating and sleeping patterns, and much more, all in the context of chronicling the drastic remedial step that she took and its results in her family. Her viewpoint was certainly faulty: she is a vehemently self-proclaimed liberal feminist, twice-divorced and no-big-deal, who (despite a vague reference to being Anglican) entirely discounted two rather important factors -- a. God, and b. sin -- in her discussion, and who drew most of her inspiration for The Experiment from Thoreau's Walden Pond. I also didn't appreciate her occasionally crass language.Nonetheless, it was a fascinating, thought-provoking read, and also very convicting, insofar as it confirmed my uncomfortable suspicions that my own rapidly decreasing attention span, reading comprehension, creativity, and memory -- and, correspondingly, escalating procrastination, zoned-out-ness, and general disorderliness (Maushart calls it "blobbiness") -- must be chalked up, at least in part, to my incontinent use of media. Yes, even if, or perhaps especially if (as Maushart posits), I was multi-tasking work and "play". Convinced that I must be much, much more purposeful about my internet usage habits, I've been spurred to, God helping, take myself by the scruff of the neck and make some defined, radical adjustments to my time management in general and my media consumption in particular.Though Maushart didn't see it, it really comes down to this: I have only one life to live, and it's slipping away at a frightful rate -- and, well, there won't be any gold stars awarded to Most Proficient Web User when all is said and done. "Only one life, 'twill soon be past / only what's done for Christ will last.""Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:15-16)"For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." (2 Pet. 2:19b)"I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me." (Ps. 101:2b-3)

  • Jaclyn Day
    2019-03-30 03:18

    I’ve always been a little addicted to technology. My family used to have to drag me away from the family computer kicking and screaming and I was always tapped to do light troubleshooting for my friends or family members. Remember Geocities, IRC and all that? I do. (Sometimes I wish I didn’t.)The other day I tweeted about all the technological gadgets I was surrounded by, and honestly? I’m surrounded by most of them all day for hours at a time. I have a chronic addiction to my iPhone and have been known to set it in my lap while driving on the (horrible! unimaginable!) off-chance I miss a call or text because I didn’t hear it vibrating from its other resting place on the passenger seat. Now I have an iPad and it’s feeding my tech addiction in a whole new way. I can create and read content on a level that a smart phone just isn’t conducive to. I can track my contractions on an iPhone or iPad app, for godssake. It’s crazy.But, despite all this Internet/technology addiction, I am careful to (try and) keep strict boundaries in place when I am with Brandon or with my family/friends. I frequently go from late Friday night until Sunday evening without touching a computer and have a strict no blogging rule when Brandon is home. It’s important to me only because I’ve seen first hand what technology can do when paired with a potentially destructive workaholic streak, to name one example.This book not only presents an incredible amount of research and information about technology and the effects of technology on younger generations, but is also witty and personal and honest. Maushart’s children may not have liked having to do their homework at their friends homes, but Maushart noted that her one son went from asking for video games for his birthday to asking for about a dozen books instead…and was thrilled to receive them.Although I can’t ever do Maushart’s experiment firsthand because of the nature of my work, I can do it in small doses and take her advice about how to integrate technology in a healthy way into my child’s life as well. This is something Brandon and I discuss often. How can you not? Do we want Isobel to have an entire existence chronicled online before she can even choose whether she wants it or not? Is it even possible to contain it? Do we want to? How can we make technology beneficial for her without giving her a crutch that comes at the expense of creativity, reading and other offline hobbies?We still don’t know the answers, obviously, but I appreciate that this book has given me greater context from which to make decisions in the future.

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-21 23:12

    An expertly mixed blend of the self-experimentation-as-journalism trend and a survey of current research on the effect of screen time on your average human being.The writing is witty and smart, and alternates frequently between a journal of the disconnected experience and more objective overviews of studies that look at the issues just raised by the journal. It's like a television show that changes cameras every ten seconds: just when you're getting a little tired of one format, BAM! There's another.If there's one criticism I have of this work it's that the "experiment" wasn't all that long. The author is delighted with the wonderful experiences that grow (wildflower-like) to fill the vacuum created by the disappearance of the screens: actual family meals, singing around the piano, everyone piled on the bed reading the Sunday paper together. You have to wonder if part of the hazy glow associated with the experiences has to do at least in part with their novelty; surely there is no zeal like that of the new convert.Overall I was surprised at how thoroughly researched the book was (I suppose the author didn't have much else to do without her iPhone?) and enjoyed reading the wryly written journal. It's really almost worth reading as a story. And if the intent of the book was to make readers want to limit the screen time in their own homes, well--mission accomplished.If you like this book but found it less than scholarly, I'd recommend The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, which is a much more thorough (and, despite its title, completely non-alarmist) overview of the literature.

  • JoLene
    2019-03-23 21:11

    I really enjoyed this book. As stated in the title, the author, a single mother of 3 teenagers) decides that their family needs to unplug so she declares their house a "screen-free" zone, meaning no TV, computers, or iPods. The book chronicles their experience as well as highlights some of the different research about how our constantly connected lifes are having on society. As an example, are our brains evolving so that today's children are actually able to truly multi-task. Or better yet, in the world on texting and cell phones, have our manners gone by the wayside? Maushart has a great wit and I found this to be a fairly quick read (normally I find non-fiction to drag). I also felt like she gave balanced weight to some of the pros and cons of our connected society.Growing up, my mom frequently put a moratorium on TV time --- and as an adult, I am grateful because I discovered a love of crafts and games (of the board and card variety). Although I still watch a fair bit of TV and spend too much time on the internet, I do think that turning off every once in a while is a good thing. If anything, this book is thought provoking.

  • Marcia
    2019-04-07 02:22

    I picked this one up because I enjoy the "Do something for one year" and write about it genre. Cook like Julia, create a Happiness project, don't buy anything know. So the premise here is a single mom and her three teens go screen-less for 6 months. No computers, cell phones, TV, or iPods. Maushart's account is a well-researched, fascinating look at the effects of media on our lives. The brain research on how these tools impacts our kids is particularly interesting to me. We cannot multi-task! The brain can only do one task at a time; it's the toggle speed between tasks that makes it appear as if we can. The impact on sleep is also important. In solidarity with the author I went screen-less for a full weekend while I read the book. It was hard, really hard. I felt very anxious not checking my email! Enlightening.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-10 00:31

    I only got to about the half way point. The author is so off-putting in her style that I couldn't continue. It's far more a type of self-involved blog than a book. Theoretically I do think it has its perks as a concept (off the grid) and that's why I put it on my TBR list. But no, I can't do the entire tale about so little for so long. Too bribing, too unscientific, and results way too inexact for me in any connective value. Both her sense of humor and parental value system were at times, IMHO, as inappropriate in tone and comparison as texting a "dear John" or letting your phone ring away at a movie theatre. But then I don't parse with "call waiting" and I-Phone stare and tons of other behaviors or methods others may think are completely normal.

  • Maddee
    2019-04-04 00:13

    Found on the shelf of an airbnb. I feel like I've been reading a lot of journalistic confessional memoir about people denying themselves things recently. this one was especially unimaginative.

  • Alice Nilsson
    2019-03-28 21:26

    Five stars for the experiment and for her courage to try it, but only three for the book because of how it was written ... so I guess that makes it an overall 4 star rating for me

  • Julie - Book Hooked Blog
    2019-04-04 20:20

    The Winter of Our Disconnect is the story of a single mother who decides that she and her three teenagers will spend a six-month season (fall through spring in Australia) completely unplugged. She cancels their tv service, cell phone service, internet service, and removes everything with a screen from the house (including ipods, phones, gaming devices, televisions, and computers). They can use computers as needed at school and at the public library, but nothing with a screen is allowed in the house. It's a great premise for a book (which the author acknowledges she chose as a book premise as opposed to a "we just decided to do this" kind of thing). Intermingled with the account of their completely wireless winter are background and research on the generation growing up dependant on digital media.This book was alternately frustrating and enlightening for me. At first, I found myself really aggravated by the idea that the "digital age" is somehow inherently bad. The internet, especially, can be used in so many amazing ways. Like anything else, it's something that requires self-control. My initial impression was that the author somehow thought that the existence of the internet, mp3s, etc was somehow responsible for her children being unable to stop texting, watching, facebooking, etc. Like any other form of entertainment, it's not "cable tv" or "the internet" that is responsible for over-use. That's a self-control issue on the part of the person using it.I also really felt like she used the whole "digital realm" as a scape-goat for what, in my opinion, was a lack of parenting. If your teenage children are spending too much time in front of a screen, an easy way to fix that is to take it away. If you don't want your kids to spend all their time holed up in the bedroom with the TV, don't give your kids a TV in the bedroom. Place time limits on computer use. Don't buy them a cell phone. It just seems like common sense to me. However, I realized about halfway through that my opinion was coming from a pretty privileged viewpoint. My parents were strict about how much time we spent on the computer, watching tv, etc. But my parents were not divorced and my mom didn't work outside of the home. So, around the halfway point, it really hit me how impossibly hard those rules are to enforce if you can't be home to monitor it. Also, I have to remind myself that I am not a parent and that any judgments I pass down now will come back to haunt me the second I have kids. I do, however, maintain that teens don't need tvs, computers, or cell phones in their bedrooms. The vast majority of the world is getting along just fine without those things, along with electricity, shelter, and clean drinking water. I promise, teens will be ok if they have to watch tv in the family room. So that was enlightenment #1.My second annoyance was the fact that I love the internet and my cell phone. I'm a big girl and learned self-control a long time ago (except when it comes to chocolate). I don't watch tons of tv and I don't live my life on the internet, but I have used it for some very important things - like getting my graduate degree. Also, obviously blogging and reading other people's blogs. And I used the internet to find some of my very best friends through an online book club. My husband and I used the internet to meet other people in our city who have Great Danes and now we schedule play dates for our dogs. I also love being able to use my phone to immediately look up a word or reference in a book that I don't know. There are so many awesome things you can do online that really do encourage you to live your life, and not just virtually. I originally felt like the positives were neglected by the author.Major enlightenment #2 however, came with that frustration. There are times when I find myself doing things online that I know I shouldn't be doing (especially texting while driving). There is a feeling of pressure, like if I don't check Twitter RIGHT NOW I might be missing a conversation that I NEED to be a part of. Or if I'm not checking my message boards every day and posting a certain amount, my friends might forget I exist. Or if I don't reply to this text message this second, even though the light is green and traffic is heavy, I might miss something important. Also, while I'm really good about not having my phone on me 24/7, my husband is not. I would love to go out to dinner without the appearance of the iphone, even if it's being used to look up ingredients on the menu or movie showtimes for after dinner. Knowing your husband is checking his Facebook updates takes away from the romance.As far as the book itself is concerned, I think it was well done. I liked the writing and had no issues with the author's research. It really makes a book for me when an author presents their research well and cites their sources - and this author did an excellent job of that. She does provide a mostly balanced look at technology and how it is changing culture, although it does lean towards the critical. The criticisms, however, fit well with the nature of the book and the premise behind the plot. I can't say the book didn't drag in a few spots, but it wasn't boring, if that makes sense. It was like a lot of research-driven non-fiction in places - somewhat dry and full of facts, but interesting facts. It took me longer to read than it typically takes to read a memoir, but I think the presence of all the research and facts balanced that out. One minor annoyance - the author uses internet lingo and emoticons liberally. I'm not a fan of older people trying to sound young. Then I realized, I am over 25 and I still use those things as well. I am well on my way to becoming that person. Enlightenment #3.

  • Martha
    2019-04-02 03:30

    a courageous mother convinces her 3 teenagers that the family must go cold turkey on their digital devices for 6 months- what a difference those months make in their lives. Chocked full of research and humor.

  • Tawnya
    2019-04-02 04:35

    I really wanted to like this. I LOVE the subject. And maybe I would have, had I kept reading. But I found her apparent disdain for her children ridiculous and her attitude and writing style annoying, so I read the first third and skimmed the rest.

  • Kayo
    2019-03-29 02:40

    Really cute book. Bravo to author for doing this. More families should.

  • Matthew Ciarvella
    2019-04-08 00:10

    First, an observation; if you want a particularly surreal reading experience, read a book about forgoing screens on an ereader or tablet device, as I did. As the author describes giving up the iPhone, iPad, other i-prefixed devices, you can reflect on how for you do to likewise would mean not being able to continue reading. It's a weird feeling.Anyway, author Susan Maushart decides her family is too wired, too jacked in, too tuned in, etc. and decides to Thoreau (hah!) all away for six months of digital exile. It's an interesting idea that gains a fair bit of traction when you read about various family members falling asleep with their devices; even as a ferocious gamer and person who spends most of his day tied to a screen at work, the Maushart house's level of digital dependency felt extreme.And yet. And yet.It's not going to come as a surprise that Maushart's decision to cite Mark Bauerlein's "The Dumbest Generation" immediately dropped my estimation of this book (for those who haven't been reading my reviews that far back, Bauerlein was one of my most scathingly negative reviews I've ever posted). Maushart walks a finer line on the topic, but eventually she succumbs to the same age-ism of Bauerlein and points out that "no, things really were better in my day" even after pointing out that every generation since Socrates was "ruined" by whatever new technology came along (for Socrates, it was the written word and literacy that were ruining the youth of Athens). Many of the things that Maushart seems certain of about the relative merits of her youth to her kids' youth seem to be little more than the trap that we all fall into as we get older.Returning to the point about the fact that I read this book on a tablet; my larger problem with Maushart's disconnection experiment is that never once is the subject of the content itself addressed. This isn't a "well, just watch the documentary" argument, it's good for you (most studies have shown that watching documentaries has a negligible positive cognitive effect), but instead realizing that not all screen time is created equally. The reality is that we are never again going to live in a society that is not infused with technology and as much as I love Walden Pond, a Thoreau-like existence is not feasible on a large social scale. Rather than trying to go without, we should be learning techniques to manage the role of tech in our lives.Also, the fact that, despite all the amazing personal gains and achievements made during "the experiment," very few pages are spent talking about the aftermath once the screens came back led me to believe that the effects were short-lived. Was the son still practicing his instrument religiously after the experiment was over? The book doesn't say.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-06 02:28

    Pop-psychology that I'm not doing cart-wheeling over and seem to be in the minority here. How one mother imposed techno-silence on three angry teenagers for six months - and lived to tell the tale..blurb from BBC - For anyone who's ever taken their phone to bed or sneaked a look at their Blackberry mid-conversation and any parent who has ever texted their child to the dinner table - or yanked the modem from its socket in a show of primal parental rage - this account of a family's six-month, self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you ROFLing (Roll on the Floor Laughing) with recognition. But it will also challenge you to take stock of your own connections, technical and otherwise.Susan Maushart is the digitally-devoted, iphone obsessed mother of three teenage children - two girls and one boy. She relocated from New York to Perth, Australia in the 1980s after completing a PhD in Communication Arts and Science from NYU. She's just about to move back to New York, the city where she was born, after two decades in Australia."The Winter of Our Disconnect started out as a kind of purge. It ended up as so much more. Long story short: our digital detox messed with our heads, our hearts and our homework. It changed the way we ate and the way we slept, the way we 'friended', fought, planned and played. It altered the very taste and texture of our family life. Hell, it even altered the mouth-feel. In the end, our family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age changed our lives indelibly - and infinitely for the better. This book is our travelogue, our apologia, our Pilgrim's Progress slash Walden Pond slash Lonely Planet Guide to Google- free Living. At the simplest level, The Winter of Our Disconnect is the story of how one highly idiosyncratic family survived six months of wandering through the desert, digitally speaking, and the lessons we learned about ourselves and our technology along the way. At the same time, our story is a channel, if you'll excuse the expression, to a wider view - into the impact of new media on the lives of families, into the very heart of the meaning of home"Producer: Clive Brill A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Kadi Viik
    2019-04-17 00:21

    Upplägget var lovande - en teknikglad mor med tre internetknarkande tonåringar bestämmer för att familjen ska leva utan medie- och kommunikationsprylar (förutom "gammaldags" radio, stereo och sladdtelefon) i ett halvår. Och för att få till en hard-core början stänger hon ned elen de första veckorna, mitt i den australiensiska högsommaren. Och skriver om experimentet. Hon skriver inte dåligt, det är rätt humoristiskt och jag tycker om att Maushart har tagit ett bredare grepp om ämnet med meningen med familjeliv, relationer mellan mor och barn och mellan barn och barn och barnuppfostran i centrum, i symbios med teknik- och nätberoendet.Men jag har invändningar. Boken är rörig och känns oredigerad. Samma historia kan dyka upp flera gånger. Skrivstilen känns lika hysterisk som att sitta med sex browserflikar öppna samtidigt och simultanchatta på Skype och FB. Jag blev helt enkelt stressad av att läsa! Vad Maushart än ville förmedla, så var en zen-inställning till livet inte det budskap som gick fram. (Ganska lustigt att boken har oräkneliga referenser till Walden av Thoreau, en rätt zen bok.) The Winter of Disconnect är en salig röra av forskningsresultat (ofta motsägelsefulla, vilket nog är bra för att ge en heltäckande bild), personliga reflektioner, dagboksanteckningar och LOL och ROFL. Rörigt och tröttsamt. En invändning är också att utvecklingen går i en sådan rasande fart att under våren 2013 känns boken redan passé - vem minns MySpace? Ett ämne som det förmodligen passar bättre att blogga om eller avhandla i krönikor i dagstidningar. Men framförallt blev jag nog besviken på slutet. Hela experimentet resulterade i - ett nytt medierum för familjen med nya möbler och massor av teknik, nedräkning tills nätet kopplades in igen och en nattlig orgie i surfande och filmtittande. Snopet faktiskt. Ingen reflektion över hur hela experimentet slutade, utan en rask språngmarch till tryckeriet.Istället för att bli inspirerad blev jag stressad. Synd!

  • Gavin
    2019-03-26 01:38

    Could you give up your gadgets for half a year? Maushart and her three wired teenagers did, in what she called The Experiment. Recognising the great extent of their collective dependence on technology, and the impact it had on the family's interpersonal relations, this single Mother decided to see just what would happen when games, smart phones, iPods, PCs and other gadgets were banned at home. The book is very well written (she is a journalist for the ABC), cites many studies, quotes facts and figures, and most importantly chronicles her personal experiences. Her children, reluctant at first as they are dragged along for the ride, gradually came to terms with the new regime. And all three grew and improved in significant ways.Each chapter has a kind of theme, and I found myself not only questioning my own techno-dependence, but wholeheartedly agreeing with what she highlighted as the negative consequences. For example, making arrangements to meet someone used to mean you chose a time and a place, and you showed up then and there. Now, everything is fluid - "Text me when you get there", or "I'll call you when I'm finished". Such an excess of convenience can lead to to a lack of commitment, where nobody decides anything until the last possible moment.This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, only tarnished somewhat by its rather unsatisfying ending. At least she left us with her Commandments, which should give all parents food for thought. Which is ultimately what this book delivers - you can't read it without thinking about how technology is impacting your life, and hopefully making some changes so it doesn't get in the way of you having a life away from the screen.

  • JeNeal
    2019-04-17 02:11

    This book sat on my "shelf" for weeks because I really didn't think I would enjoy it. I had decided it was another quirky book by an Australian, and it kind of is--but it's so much more. I finally just opened it in the middle to take a sample and I was indeed pulled into the story and the rest is history as they say. Susan Maushart is a New Yorker who happens to be living in Perth because (see pages 41-43). She is a columnist who has a wonderful way of taking all manner of the latest research out there and making it accessible to any reader in a most interesting way. Her observations of where we are as a society regarding our use of digital devices are pertinent, revelatory and thought-provoking in a non-soapbox way. I just kept applying things she was writing generally to real and specific examples in my own world. So, it becomes much more than just the story of her taking away the internet from her three teenagers for six months. That story is also wonderfully told and I have great respect for her and for each of her children for what they learned, struggled with and for their foibles and fantasies. I haven't read a book that I can so highly recommend for quite awhile.

  • Maureen
    2019-04-20 00:20

    An article about this book inspired our family of four to give up television for Lent this year and after waiting for a month for it to come off of the hold list at my library, I basically devoured this book. Although at four and six, my children are much younger than Maushart's, I really felt like this book was a cautionary tale about what happens when you allow technology to take over your children's lives; and your own. The examples of sleep deprivation and personality changes were eye-opening. The fact that, after an adjustment period, they did not simply wither up and die without their technology gives me confidence that my family (although we certainly use plenty of technology) can do without it. Or at least without it for extended periods of time. I am already beginning to plan what will happen when our Lenten television blackout is over; and thinking about what we will do as our children get older and demand more access to more technology.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-01 21:35

    Absolutely Fascinating! This family was about as fully immersed in technology as you can be. It was downright scary to read all the changes that occured in their lives from their little media experiment. Most of the book is devoted to research on topics like boredome, iphone,blackberry, and & ipod addiction, the impact of technology on schoolwork, eating and sleeping habits of teenagers ect. The authors quirky style, her journal at the time, and the hilarious comments by her hip teenagers make this a very entertaining read.It all boiled down to a lot of thinking for me. How often does RL (real life) in the form of work, relationships, learning, etc become an inconveinent distraction to our little media obsessions?

  • Jared Kelley
    2019-04-18 04:18

    The premise is epic and the results are riveting. Dr. Susan Maushart, a Perth based journalist for Australia's ABC, willingly leads herself and her three children into the life of a 21st century social-media-luddite, and it was the best decision she could have made. Far flung from the technophobic stigma that could be pinned to her for this experiment, her six months of technological reprieve rejuvenated her drive for life and her children's creative being. This book teaches us that social media technology has no foundational connection outside of real life - we are all but beings waiting to create and stepping away from engagement - embracing boredom, and simplifying our lives leads to a better understanding of ourselves and our world.You'll read this book in one night, pick it up.

  • Karen
    2019-04-06 23:29

    THANK YOU Maushart family for sacrificing 6 months of precious screen time. We are now able to use your tribulations and triumphs as an eye opening education.I would categorize this book as "Mandatory Reading for All". LOVED it. I am already averse to having technology so readily available at ALL times. This book was a reinforcer to my own beliefs and will (hopefully) be an eye opener for many "tech-ies". Have you ever realized how much we are "pushed" into more and more screen time? This only gives way to less and less "face time"... I miss people. :\