Tiffany Shlain on the Power of Unplugging

Posted on September 13th, 2019 by Melissa

Do you consume your media or does your media consume you? Women (men, boys and girls), it’s time to claim your power, and internet pioneer and renowned filmmaker Tiffany Shlain has plenty to say about the power of stepping away from the screens and unplugging. On September 24, Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books will release her first book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week. Tiffany takes readers on a provocative and entertaining journey through time and technology, introducing a strategy for living in our 24/7 world, starting with turning off all screens for twenty-four hours each week. This practice, which she’s done for nearly a decade with her husband and kids (ages 16 and 10), has completely changed their lives, giving them more time, productivity, connection, and presence. She and her family call it “Technology Shabbat.”

The book interweaves the story of Tiffany’s family with a deep dive into the neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, history, and benefits of both having technology and having a day of rest — turning the screens off, one day every week (living 24/6). Tiffany also looks at the bigger picture of the past, present, and future of technology and humanity, from her hopes for the Web in its early days and creating the Webby Awards, to where we are now and what we need to change, as individuals, and as a society. In addition, she provides a blueprint for readers to bring the practice of unplugging into their own lives (and get their partner, children, friends, and boss on board, too) and shares how what you give up is far less than what you get back: connection, focus, productivity, creativity, reflection, happiness and balance.

If you think this doesn’t apply to you, check out these statistics. According to Nielsen, adults spend over 11 hours per day interacting with media. That’s up from 9 hours and 32 minutes just four years ago. Of that 11 hours, 4 hours and 46 minutes are spent watching TV every day. Another study by Common Sense Media reports that teens spend an average of 9 hours per day interacting with media, and that doesn’t count the time for school or doing homework. Younger kids are also clocking some serious hours and kids ages 8-12 spend 6 hours per day interacting with media. Kids ages 2-5 are also spending almost a full workweek (32 hours per week) watching TV, videos, and gaming.

“We are living in the results of everyone being distracted, available 24/7, and the problems this has created for our society, our children, our communities, our democracy, and ourselves are only growing,” Tiffany writes. “24/6 is not a detox. It’s a way of co-existing in a more healthy way with technology, and it draws upon centuries of wisdom — specifically the ancient Jewish wisdom of Shabbat — backed by the latest research, made accessible to everyone, as a way forward.”

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Tiffany Shlain

Immediately following the book’s September 24 release, Tiffany will be exploring ideas about the relationship between technology, screen use, and character as the theme of her film studio, Let It Ripple’s sixth annual Character Day, an event that unites millions of people in schools, companies, and homes to develop and deepen their character: strengths like empathy, grit, gratitude, self-control, social responsibility, and leadership. Character Day is a major focus for Let It Ripple because character development leads not only to school and career success, but also to stronger, more engaged individuals and a more just world. Last year, over 4 million people across 200,000 groups in 125 countries and all 50 states participated in Character Day.

24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day A Week is available for pre-sale now. To learn more about the book, or Tiffany’s upcoming book tour speaking and events, go to https://www.24sixlife.com/.

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Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and founder of The Webby Awards. Tiffany’s films and work have received over eighty awards and distinctions including being selected for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future. NPR named her UC Berkeley address as one of its best commencement speeches and her films have premiered at top festivals including Sundance. She lectures worldwide on the relationship between technology and humanity.

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