unPLUG Pittsburgh asks people to put away their phones Saturday
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.
“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 email@example.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.