The other night, I happened to be channel-surfing, looking for something worth watching. When you only have broadcast television, and it's summer re-run season, this can prove to be a difficult thing to do. Fortunately for me, there was a documentary on PBS entitled "Disconnected".
I caught it only after about 10 minutes had elapsed, but it drew me in quickly. The basic premise of the documentary was to show the effects of giving up computers on the lives of three Carleton College students who agreed to try it for three weeks.
As someone who works online for a living, I knew it would be a tough job for a college student to go cold turkey. Not only is the use of a computer a given for doing assignments and research, college students really don't have a memory of not being able to do things online. When I think that most college freshmen today probably were born in the 1990s, my blood runs cold.
The funniest thing in the film was watching two of the students work together to figure out how to work one of the library's typewriters in order to get a paper done. A close second was seeing the face of one of the students when he realized there was no "delete" key.
The lone female of the trio actually ended up doing well. She realized some of the negative effects of being online so much. The quality of her papers went up as she really had to plan out exactly how she wanted to say something rather than cut and paste large chunks and move them around on the screen. She realized that most of the email messages she exchanged with her friends were not very important and could be replaced quite easily with more face-to-face time and longer conversations.
All in all, a good show. I definitely enjoyed it. I would recommend it highly. Check it out at disconnecteddocumentary.com.