Can Shabbat become a tool to improve human-technology relationship?

The Global Technology Shabbat Movement is encouraging everyone to disconnect from screens for one day every week.

Shabbat candles (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Shabbat candles
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Can Shabbat become a universal tool to help foster a better relationship between humans and technology? According to the creators of Character Day, the answer is yes.
Character Day is an event focused on character development promoted by the Let It Ripple film studio. According to the organizers, every year the event brings together over 200,000 organizations and millions of people in 125 countries.
The 2019 edition, scheduled for September 27 and 28, will cover the relationship between humanity and technology. The event will mark the official launch of a Global Technology Shabbat Movement, an initiative aimed to persuade people to disconnect from screens and devices for one day every week.
The idea is to turn Jewish tradition into a source of inspiration: to encourage everyone to turn off their smartphones and laptops and spend quality time with family and friends, engage in outdoor activities and reconnect with themselves and nature.
“Our vision is to create a movement of people of different ages, races, religions, denominations, and levels of affiliation to experience the great practice of Shabbat by truly taking a day of rest without screens, every week,” said Character Day co-creator Tiffany Shlain, author of 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week that will be released by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books this fall.
In order to help people to reach the goal of a full unplugged day every week, the movement suggests several weekly challenges, such as keeping the smartphone off for 30 minutes first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before bed at night, and during meals.
“Just as people do yoga and meditate with great respect for the cultures these practices come from, I hope people will learn from the ideas of Shabbat and bring this practice into their lives wherever they are coming from,” Shlain said. “For my fellow Jews, I also hope that those who don’t currently take a full day off for Shabbat can explore the power of this profound ritual of our people. We are at a critical inflection point in human history where we need to find ways to balance our 24/7 society, in which we are expected to be available to everyone and everything all the time. The answer is right in front of us: Shabbat, a day of rest and renewal.”