Susan Maushart - The Winter of Our Disconnect
- Claire Sawers
- 12 January 2011
Entertaining cautionary tale of media addiction and tech withdrawal experiment from New York journalist
With Susan Maushart’s home strewn with laptops, Nintendos and webcams, this single mother of three teenagers decided to embark on ‘The Experiment’. Her six-month exile from technology was a controversial move as her kids were Facebook addicts, gaming and Googling obsessively, while she’d started taking her laptop and iPhone to bed with her. But the journalist’s digital detox allowed her to reconnect with simple pleasures, and bond with her family by unplugging from the screens that separated them.
Her account is peppered with worrying statistics on our growing dependency on IT, and anecdotes of Amazon and iTunes withdrawals her family suffered. Although Maushart is a naturally witty and intelligent storyteller (a native New Yorker, she transplanted to Australia for a doomed marriage), certain passages perhaps prove how our attention spans have shortened in the digital age. Her 40-page chapter on ‘boredom’ begins to drag, but ultimately her cautionary tale of media addiction is entertaining. Even if you wish for the audiobook version at times.