ShareThis Page

unPLUG Pittsburgh asks people to put away their phones Saturday

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 3:57 p.m.
One of the first customers to purchase the Apple iPhone 5S celebrates after exiting the Apple Retail Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York September 20, 2013.
One of the first customers to purchase the Apple iPhone 5S celebrates after exiting the Apple Retail Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York September 20, 2013.

Put down your phone.

Go to the gym. Do some yoga. Get a facial or a pedicure.

Just for one day.

The National Day of Unplugging is Saturday, and Holly Maust, a life coach who helps people get control over how much they use cellphones, tablets and other devices, rounded up Pittsburgh-area businesses to help people disconnect for the day.

Maust, founder of Digital Wellness , organized unPLUG Pittsburgh .

“So many people are just being trapped by their phones,” Maust said. “People need to put down their phones, spend time outside, spend time trying new things, spend time with family and loved ones.”

Studies differ but several suggest Americans check their phones an average of nearly 50 times per day and spend close to four hours a day on their phones. Add in time spent in front of computers, on tablets or watching TV and the hours add up to more than 10 hours a day for some people.

The National Day of Unplugging started in 2003, back when cellphones were used to make phone calls. It was started by the Jewish organization Reboot and is an extension of the tradition of observing the Sabbath.

The National Day of Unplugging and unPLUG Pittsburgh run from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Maust found eight businesses around Pittsburgh that had free events Saturday or who will offer discounts to the unplugged. Activities include Big Free Yoga at 8:30 a.m. at Ascend Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh's South Side; $20 off a facial or $10 off a pedicure at Copacetic Skin & Soul in McCandless; and free access to Health Club at Southpointe in Cecil. More information on offers is available here .

“What I'm trying to with this movement is find other things for people to do rather than be on their phones,” Maust said.

Maust knows it will be hard for people to take a whole day away from their phones. People have become so attached that when they don't have it, they feel uncomfortable, she said. She has unplugged for a few days and said the first day was the hardest.

If people can't commit to a whole day, Maust hopes they put their phones away for a few hours.

“Kind of a baby step,” she said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me