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Topic: Issaquah High School

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January 14, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Dump your cellphone? High-school students to unplug for three days

Illustration by Donna Grethen / Op Art

Illustration by Donna Grethen / Op Art

Most of us sense how reliant teens have become on technology, plugged in every waking moment — and even, sometimes, during sleep. But here’s an actual number: Cellphone users age 13 to 17 send and receive an average of 3,705 texts per month, according to a 2011 study by Nielsen.

That doesn’t even count online chatting, posting or tweeting.

These habits are becoming so pervasive that growing chorus of educators is worried about the fallout of techno-glut on kids’ brains — their ability to plan, retain information and communicate face-to-face. On Monday afternoon at precisely 2:15, Issaquah High mounted its response: a Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, in which 600 of the school’s 2,000 students disconnected from cell phones, iPads and all social media for three days.

The hope was that students would come away with a keener sense of their dependence on technology and a desire to spend more time communicating the old fashioned way.

“Even after timeout started, it was pretty clear that some students were still using their phones — they kind of waved them at us in defiance,” said filmmakers Marty Riemer and Michael Stusser, who will be documenting the withdrawal.

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