…ten days in the San Juans with Hester Chen, whose well-heeled luddite mother so thoroughly feared electromagnetic radiation that she lived phoneless, in a sod-roofed castle of driftwood, no electricity allowed whatever. “Tell her you’re doing a media fast, before your new school thing comes together,” Kelsey had said. “She’ll like that.” And Chia’s mother, who felt that Chia spent entirely too much time gloved and goggled, did.
The above is from William Gibson’s 1996 novel Idoru. It seems the coiner of the term “cyberspace” may again be proven prescient, this time in his prediction of media fasts. A recent University of Maryland study imposed a similar fast on 200 students for a single day. During the 24 hours without ubiquitous media “[s]tudent reaction showed addictionlike withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, misery, and being jittery…”
The full article is available through the Chronicle of Higher Education.