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Lake Middle School goes unplugged

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Technology, it can be both a benefit and burden. 

For all the ways technology enhances lives for work or for school, there are just as many ways it proves to be a distraction. 

“The reality is, these things are not bad, because they enhance our lives in many ways,” said Lake Middle School psychologist Camille Johnson. “But what would life be like without them?” 

LMS challenged its students and staff to answer that question last week during the school’s Digital Blackout. 

Digital Blackout, formerly Screen Free Week, encouraged students and staff to put down their electronic devices, April 27 to May 1, in favor of other activities. 

“The idea is to raise awareness about how much we do use our digital devices,” LMS counselor Emily Frankfurth May said. “Technology is such an important part of all our lives, so this taking a look at what life was like back in 1995.” 

Students were asked to challenge themselves to take a technology timeout, whether than means no texting for the afternoon, no technology in the evening or even just refraining from checking a website for a few hours. 

“We’re taking it from a perspective of a challenge this year,” Johnson said. “Instead of having the idea that they have to give up their electronics for a whole week, we’re getting them to challenge themselves to give up technology for a day, for an evening – whatever they choose. 

“We’re making it a social experiment to see what you can do with yourself without the devices.” 

LMS offered afterschool activities throughout the week to help students stay active and entertained, including board games, chess, rock painting, gardening, bracelet making, zumba and gym time. 

Additionally, Johnson and Frankfurth May encouraged families to take the challenge, whether that means turning off cell phones during dinner or participating in a family activity such as a bike ride, walk or board game. 

“Digital Blackout is a time for us to evaluate if we are keeping our digital lives in balance,” Frankfurth May said. “We hope that taking this opportunity to temporarily unplug will help us all find a balance.“

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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