rebelling against low expectations

What I Learned in One Week Without Technology


One week without technology. I know it’s not a very original idea, but I did it anyway, and this is why.

First of all, I was absolutely sick of it – sick of using my phone too much, sick of getting distracted on the internet, sick of it all. It was hurting my relationship with my creator. In the weeks before I took the challenge, I concluded that if I don’t feel close to God, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s something in between us. That something is usually sin, and I believe my overuse of technology was a sin.

The bottom line is, it was subtracting from my life, and becoming a major distraction from the things that actually matter – the things that matter to not only me, but to God also.

So one day, on Sunday, I decided to take the challenge: no technology for a week. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I was up for the challenge, and ready for an adventure. I go to public school, so I realized that I would have to set up a few regulations for myself.

1. The challenge will last from Monday to the end of school Friday. I know, it’s not a full week, but it’s close enough!

2. During that time, I will ban myself from all forms of technology except the bare necessities. Those include school projectors, clocks, and Skyping my sister.

3. If I have any assignments in school that require the use of a computer, I will politely ask for an alternate assignment.

4. During that time, I will modify my devotion time to be longer, and I will strive to grow spiritually.

So… I did it!

Almost miraculously, there were no big computer assignments for school that whole week! When I inevitably told some of my peers what I was doing, they either thought it was crazy, or they thought it was cool and praiseworthy!

I replaced the time I used to spend on my phone with praying, praising God, talking to friends, or spending time with my family.

During that week, it was almost as if a fog was lifted. I could interact socially much easier. I felt peace with God. I actually had time to do things! Though it was a challenge, it was more like a retreat to me. Sure it was hard at times, but the struggles I faced while taking the challenge were worth the reward.

Perhaps the greatest part of the experience was the feeling of freedom from sin. I’d been battling with the use of technology partially because my parents had asked me to limit myself. Once I took a week away from it, I felt a burden had been lifted.

Now I’m not saying that technology is bad. It can be very good! But if there’s anything in your life that is being a distraction from the true meaning of life, if there’s anything that’s subtracting more than it’s adding, if there’s anything that’s acting as a barrier between you and God, now is the time to destroy it.

Now is the time.

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About the author

Tim Utekal

is a 17 year old journalist, entrepreneur, and Christian. He enjoys writing for his online publication, Secondly Magazine. Although his obsession is creating original material, he also finds time to enjoy the company of his family.


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  • I have to tell that I’m fighting with this too. I think I’m addicted to being on my phone! I just can’t stop scrolling down on Facebook and posting Snaps and controlling my Instagram… I feel very bad about it. I know I have a big problem and I’m trying to fight with it, but I always fail… I know that it’s sin and it distracts me from important things and even from God, and I really want to overcome it… And your post encouraged me so much! I have found new determine and I’m starting again now! I know it will be very hard, but I know also that God is my strenght and He is by my side… Thank you! 🙂
    P.S. If you want, can you please pray for me? I really need your prayers to overcome this! Thank you, love ya all xx

    • I’ll be praying for you, @hannylin:disqus! I’m going through something similar myself and I know how hard it can be!

      • Yes, it’s very addicting (I forgot to talk about phones on my comment), phones can be almost worst than computers ’cause you carry them everywhere you go and that can be a BIG problem.

    • Technology is an addiction struggle for almost everyone, there are so many things we can do on it and never get bored, the key is moderation, otherwise it takes away from our experiences in life, and we dont end up living our individual lives to the fullest. I think Christmas week should be a challenge week for everyone to be off of technology.

  • Thanks for sharing Tim! Technology can really take away time from family, friends, and God as I’ve realized as well. I’ve also had to be careful of time spent on technology.

  • That is great!! I don’t have an addiction to technology but sometimes I feel like I use it or count on it WAY to much. Especially when it comes to texting people…. thank you sooo much for the inspiration!! Merry Christmas!!

  • Very good article Tim, I don’t have addiction on electronics but it can be addicting to people (and me at times). when you(and I) play computer games and that’s when it gets distracting and addicting. But thankfully now most of my time on the computer is nothing very addicting: Read Emails, Go to The Rebelution website, and go on Duolingo(A language learning program).

    Oh and Merry Christmas!

  • This is an amazing article Tim! Technology is so hard to control on a day-to-day basis. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • This challenge sounds incredibly hard but incredibly rewarding (…but isn’t that what this whole website is about? haha) I may have to try something like this in the New Year. It seems like, while it would be difficult, it would also feel amazing to be away from technology for a while.

  • That does sound like a challenge, but every summer when I go to camp there is no electronics allowed, I absolutely love it, because Ii have an amazing time without electronics, just the way I like it. It feels like you can just relax because you aren’t always connected and stressed because of the things you see or hear about over the internet. You can finally breathe and see amazing things you miss out on while you are glued to your electronics..

    • My youth minister takes away our phones during summer camps too. I agree that it is incredibly rewarding to have a week free from the hassle of electronic devices! It is amazing how many great conversations take place when kids aren’t on their phones!

      • I know, what is really irritating is that I am trying to escape technology for just 1 day, yet our school gave us Ipads we have to bring to school every single day or else get chewed out about why we didn’t bring it

        • I’m homeschooled, but I’m sure that is frustrating! My problem is when other kids constantly complain about not having their phones! But most of the time it’s the freshman because they don’t know the reward of being free from technology;)

      • I know! I often have trouble with knowing I need to put it down, but not having the will to do so. At winter camp (yes, folks, there are winter camps) we all are required to forfeit our phones…and our relationships grow in the process.

  • I’ve done this for at least two weeks each summer (for mission trips) since I got my phone. It’s so rewarding! At the end of one of the weeks, we get to do a two hour time of silence in a park, which is really, really good for quiet time. I definitely enjoy being without technology but it’s not generally convenient considering some friends I can only contact through my phone, so to keep my relationships with them I really need to have it on a normal basis ;P

  • This is a great idea! I guess it should help us by improving our social abilities in many different ways, this post is pretty inspiring

    • I think it’s really put everything in perspective. So many things can come between us and our creator, and even though they are painful to take away, it’s rewarding to see His face through the clouds. It’s amazing to see what life can be without these distractions. Honestly, I think another “Week Without Technology” is overdue for me.

  • I have been feeling the same about technology these days. I feel that I over-used technology and that I ruined my relationship with God. Thank you for writing this article. It helps me to realise that I’m not the only one struggling with it. I might try a week without technology.

  • Wow, you are really brave to do this! 🙂 Last month I did something kind of similar…I hadn’t gone through the whole Bible recently, so I decided to read through it in 30 days! It definitely took a lot of commitment, etc., since it came out to reading around 40 chapters a day. I definitely did not have as much time to spend on technology, which was good for me. It was so good to just spend more time in God’s Word! On November 30th, as I read the end of Revelation 22, it was such a massive feeling of accomplishment and joy that I had DONE IT with God’s help! 🙂 You can read a blog post I did about the journey here:

    Anyway, I am thankful that there are other people out there who are trying to do hard things too! 🙂 Great job. God bless,

  • Randomly decided to read this this morning… 😛 I’m homeschooled and some of my courses are online, so a complete technology band isn’t possible. For me, it’s worked to just temporarily ban myself from certain websites that I waste the most time on. It’s a good compromise for people that can’t go completely without the internet.

  • So many of us have become so obsessed with technology that it obliterates much of our productivity. I’ve felt this happen in my life: virtually all my free time got sucked away into phone-games and social networking. Eventually I got a wakeup call after I spent over an hour on this one game and it suddenly crashed on me. There it hit me: what am I doing? So, now, I’m attempting to be more focused and intentional about what I spend my free time on – and it is very helpful!

    Do you have any suggestions, Tim, about how to maintain the right balance for using technology?

    • Yah! Not that I’m an expert or anything. I still struggle with it. However, I’ve developed some strategies to keep it under control. It’s different for every person, but what I’ve done is I’ve set up my own regulations. I banned myself from certain websites and certain apps (like that game you were talking about). I adjusted my regulations as time went on and I realized where my time was being wasted. I even uninstalled, or hid, some apps just so I wouldn’t be tempted to use them! Another thing I did was to bring my parents, and friends into the mix. I invited them to join me – to help me set up my own rules for technology use, as well as keep me accountable for them. Those are my suggestions. That’s the idea, and I admittedly have been compromising lately, so I would really appreciate prayer!

  • Ask yourself this: If it feels so rewarding and free to be off of the internet/technology for a week, 2 weeks, whatever, how come you don’t get off of it long term? I haven’t watched a movie in 4 years or played a video game in 5. I know it sounds crazy, but I don’t even miss it anymore! My family doesn’t do movies, video games, Facebook, twitter, etc. (and we only use youtube if we need to) and we are still getting along just fine! I don’t think any of those things are bad in and of themselves, just they can become an idol too easily. So if you don’t spend your time on screens, what do you do with your time? If you take something away, you should fill it with something else, right? I spend my time reading, playing piano and violin, spending time with God, playing board games with my family, raising pigs and chickens, and a whole lot more! I like the idea of restricting yourself from certain websites that are addicting and you spend too much time on! I would encourage you to try this: Whenever you find yourself wanting to check facebook, email, or do something else technology oriented, think of something you’re been wanting to do but just haven’t had the time to get around to. Do something for someone else to bless them. Build a better relationship with someone. I know it sounds hard, but that’s what this blog is about right? 😀 I hope this helps!

  • I think this is really good and an eye opener. we really need to step back and realize what is important. So many people get so wrapped up in social media; and i can too, don’t get me wrong. But i think we need to remember who know our days, and who says our lives are but a vapor, it’s GOD. We need to remember who is in control and not to take our focus off of him. Guys, lets take this time we have here on earth and use it for God’s glory not for our glory, but HIS.

  • I used to do this once a month for a day, it was a great experience, but I started getting “religious” about it. I would ignore people, and just try to read my Bible the whole time. The Bible is awesome, but if I ignore the people God put in my life, I’m not following the Bible very well ha ha! So anyway, I think this is a great thing for people to try, especially the way @timutekal:disqus did it. I would recommend that after you do it, you then, as you enter back into normal life, decide what you will continue to use less. For example, I’ve given thought to getting a non-smartphone (do we call them dumb phones? Ha ha, I don’t know) because I don’t need access to email and YouTube right on my phone. I’m also thinking of not texting, and only calling people. We’ll see how it goes!

    God bless, and great post!

By Tim Utekal
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →