Seacoast Residents Can Ditch Their Devices For A 'Digital Fast' This Weekend

May 3, 2019

Some Portsmouth merchants are offering discounts to people wearing a "digital fast" pin like this one.

New Hampshire's Seacoast is going analog this weekend. Residents will be shutting off their phones and other devices for a 48-hour “digital fast.”

The fast begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday and lasts until 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Residents are encouraged to put their phones in a drawer, turn off the TV and computer, and find other things to do.

“We have let our devices dictate the terms and it really should be the other way around,” says organizer Jeff Stern, a Seacoast resident who teaches at Bentley College in Massachusetts.

He says his aim isn’t to be anti-technology, but to help people think critically about their digital habits.

“Give it a try and notice how much more calm and present you feel,” he says.

Stern has worked with the Portsmouth Public Library, city and schools to organize screen-free events like book clubs, vinyl record dance parties and meditation sessions.

Some local businesses will also have discounts for people fasting throughout the weekend. Participants can pick up buttons to wear as a signal that they’re offline.

Details are at seacoastdigitalfast.com and on Facebook and Instagram, though Stern says they’ll also pass out paper schedules.

Additionally, a debrief for participants is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Portsmouth Public Library.

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