TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Nikki Wessley ends a typical day when she takes her two Bull Mastiff dogs, Duchess and Zeus, for an evening walk.
But Wessley agreed to go through an atypical day recently, a day without the internet, her cell phone and social media for 12 waking hours.
The one exception to the agreement is if she received an emergency-related call on her cell phone.
Wessley admitted that she was nervous about agreeing to the technology-free challenge.
“It’s kind of scary because I started to think when’s the last time I went 12 hours without my phone or without email. Or internet or anything,” she explained. “And…I don’t know if I ever have gone that long. And that kind of scares me because I don’t like to think that I’m, you know, so dependent on, you know, the technology that we have these days. And I definitely am.”
Her work day started at 8:30 a.m. as the Chapter Executive of the Wabash Valley American Red Cross, one hour after she’s rid herself of her cell phone, email and social media accounts.
Wessley’s co-workers even admitted that she would have her hands full with her 12-hour hiatus from digital-related products,
“I giggled because she’s pretty much married to…married to that phone throughout the day,” described Suzie Thorlton, Major Gift Associate for the Wabash Valley American Red Cross. “She uses social media a lot for work, of course and then just texting. So…I’m thinking there’s no way she’s going to make it.”
At 2:30 p.m., seven hours after going internet-free and cell-phone-free, Nikki has only corresponded through her work phone landline at the Wabash Valley American Red Cross.
But Wessley admits that on a few occasions she nearly succumbed to technology temptation.
“I kind of want to know what’s going on and…you know, I mean, I even wanted…I didn’t know if I…man, I should check the weather. So easy to just drag my (computer) screen down and see when it is going to stop raining maybe, you know,” she admitted. “And…I haven’t been able to do that, either. So I’ve been pretty surprised all day.”
As it turns out, she met the challenge.
And the 12-hour embargo of internet, cell phone and social media use by Wessley expired during her nightly walk with Duchess and Zeus.
After turning on her cell phone, Nikki had more than 220 emails, text messages and voicemails waiting for her reply.
“It was definitely not as stressful because I feel like when people text me, you know, I need to text them back. And sometimes, you know, I do get stressed out with all the text messages. And I’m like, ‘gosh, you know, it’s kind of nice to not have to worry about that,” Wessley said.
But she did admit as the day stretched into evening, the temptation to give in to technology was more enticing.
According to research, there are seven main signs of digital depression:
1. Only the most technologically up-to-date will gain career success
2. An inability to unplug from working life
3. The permanent interruption of work by emails, mobiles, colleagues and bosses
4. The 24/7 working life—shorter deadlines and a faster working environment
5. The pressure to acquire the newest digital gadget
6. The frustration when technology does not work
7. The constant stream of communications that create a sense that work never ends