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Detoxing From Always-On Technology Overload

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 17, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.

We now live in a world in which we constantly are connected electronically. We spend so much of our time in front of computers, laptops and tablets. Our smartphones can accomplish feats unimaginable not so long ago. These days we can even surf the Internet with smart eyeglasses.

Plainly, connectivity presents numerous advantages from business and professional standpoints. If that were not the case, people likely would not be so addicted to their instant electronic communications and access.

However, does there come a tipping point when an individual just becomes bombarded with connectivity overload and truly needs a cleanse -- a detox, if you will, from the always-on world? Perhaps once in a while each one of us, even if briefly, needs to harken back to an earlier time and just turn off and be present in the real world.

Case in point: my recent trip to Alaska with my family.

There we were, on a ship, off the Alaskan coast, exploring incredible fjords and glaciers, and we had the choice to pay for expensive Wi-Fi ... or not. We actually considered this option for quite a while. Mind you, our daughters are 22 and 19, and they literally live on their hand-held devices. And, as I need to confess, I am a tech junkie.

But we bit the bullet, and we decided to forego the Wi-Fi connectivity option. What happened? An amazing thing happened, actually.

I expected there to be serious withdrawal suffered by my family, replete with constant hand movements back and forth to lifeless gadgets and consequent withdrawal symptoms like twitches, shakes, irritability, confusion and ultimate depression. True? False!

Almost immediately, we all seemed calmer. Conversations lasted longer; indeed, they sweetly lingered. Not only that, but our uninterrupted family conversations were so much deeper and more interesting than usual. And when we went about our daily activities, we were so much in the here and now (Huxley would have been proud).

We truly arrived at connectivity detox when we canoed across a glacial lake in silence past icebergs and waterfalls as we approached a glacier. Trust me, nobody was thinking about emails, texts, or tweets. We were overwhelmed by the splendor and majesty of nature in all its glory.

As our trip progressed, there did come a moment when I needed to access Wi-Fi for some important work and extended family matters. While that was necessary, I did have some regret, as by doing this I became a bit removed as compared to my wife and daughters.

Our trip, as all trips, finally came to an end. When we were at the Vancouver airport waiting for our flight home, it was interesting to see so many people hovering around the few charging stations provided so they could ensure that their laptops and devices were fully charged. God forbid if they lost battery power and connectivity! Maybe they would go through withdrawal from their connectivity addiction. Or more likely, they would simply take a breath and pay attention to their surroundings.

Long live tech -- and long live tech breaks!

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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