digital detangler Pete Dunlap

A Visit from the Digital Detangler

This winter, High School students enjoyed a visit from Pete Dunlap, known as the “Digital Detangler,” who helps encourage mindful technology use. 
During his assembly presentation, Pete shared that, on average, people spend 43 days per year on smartphones, and time spent on devices is often greater than time asleep. He noted that the excessive use of smartphones has a negative effect, as studies have shown that social media leads to lower life satisfaction, and time spent on smartphones diminishes cognitive ability as well as closeness and trust. 

To mitigate these issues, Pete encouraged students to reorganize their phones to turn them into more useful tools and resources. He emphasized changing notification settings and social media websites so they don't provide distractions as often. He recommended only keeping useful tools on the home screen of the phone, like the calculator and flashlight, and not Facebook or Instagram. Finally, he encouraged students to pick up the phone and call instead of always resorting to texting as a means of communication.

Other suggestions and actionable items Pete shared with the students for more mindful technology use:
  • Keep a paper internet journal
  • Spend three hours in a row doing something screenless
  • Limit personal screen time per day (1 hour on weekdays, 2.5 on weekends)
  • Check email no more than twice a day
  • Put WiFi on an outlet timer
  • Stop taking by-your-selfies
  • Remove email and social media apps from phone

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