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The Winter of Our Disconnect

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,180 Ratings  ·  298 Reviews
For any parent who's ever IM-ed their child to the dinner table - or yanked the modem from its socket in a show of primal parental rage - this account of one family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you ROFLing with recognition. But it will also challenge you to take stock of your own family connections, to create a media ecology that encourages kids ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published May 3rd 2010)
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Anthony Eaton
Sep 12, 2010 Anthony Eaton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book.

And to follow on from this grand opening statement, I'm going to make another.

This book changed the way I live.

If you follow my blog, or know me, or have seen my office, you'll know that I'm something of a techno-junkie. Not hardcore, you understand, I can quit it at any time, and I just like the way it makes me feel, but nevertheless, I'm typing this review up on my iBook, which is hooked up to two screens for easier data management. Beside me on the desk is my iPad (
The Winter of Our Disconnect is the author's take on Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods-in her case, her pulling the plug for herself and her three teens on the digital world for six months.

The book is uneven in quality-I found the interspersing of journal entries with straightforward narrative an interesting idea that nevertheless felt awkward and not fully integrated into the text-but the information about the digital world and its effect on our children was fascinating. I also enjoyed the
Mar 11, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I'm not sure how I came across this book--some random search probably, which is funny considering the content. At any rate, I was intrigued by the premise: a single mother with 3 teenagers--all tethered to their technology 24/7 (including the mom)--unplugs the family for 6 months. They go completely screen-free at their house (and even electricity-free for the first month).

The results are really only surprising if you're the kind of person who's never lived without the latest gadget or limited
Robin Nicholas
A mom and her 3 teenagers (ages 14, 15, and 18) were going to "unplug" for 6 months to see how their lives would change. To begin with, the level that they were "plugged In" was utterly disgusting. Everyone including mom, were either on a laptop, a gaming system, or their phone pretty much 24 hours a day. There were literally NO rules. The 14 year old was allowed to sleep with her laptop on her lap. Apparently, she didn't really sleep that well (duh), so she wanted to be able to play games and ...more
Kathy Hiester
Feb 02, 2011 Kathy Hiester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I searched high and low at the chain bookstores before finally breaking down and ordering The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart from Amazon. I just want to let you know that I sit here writing this I have my email, facebook, and two blogs open in Firefox on my computer.
Maushart is a single parent of three who after questioning the effect of decides to enforce a six-month ban of technology in the house, and write about the development. She actually has significant doubt up until the very
Lada Moskalets
Jun 01, 2014 Lada Moskalets rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Експеримент американської журналістки, яка вирішила на півроку перетворити свій дім на screen-free зону - без смартфонів, планшетів, телевізорів і т.д. Найголовніше, що цим також мали перестати користуватися троє дітей-підлітків авторки, яких вона підкупила, пообіцявши поділитися гонораром від майбутньої книжки. С'юзан надихалася насамперед Генрі Торо і протягом всього експерименту вона порівнює свої враження з його. Дуже багато роздумів (з ухилом в "куди котиться наш світ") на тему того, як інт ...more
Karla Butler
I'm not a fan of non-fiction but I thought this was an interesting premise for a book. A single mother of 3 teenagers decides to pull the plug on technology for a couple of months. By doing so, she learns that there is more to life than toying with your I-Phone or connecting with your friends on Facebook. Susan Maushart includes many sociological studies to underline her point that something is wrong. While we have more access to technological communication, our innate social skills have somewha ...more
Donna Lyn
wasn't what i thought it would be (a diary or tale of their experience). it had some of that but it was all over the place and tons of (ironically) googled studies that all contradicted each other leaving no formed opinions on anything. even the bliss of unplugging was replaced by the bliss of redoing the family room to welcome back the gadgets after 5 months of bribery (she paid her kids to abstain). the overuse of LOL was annoying and "blobbiness"? i read the whole thing in an Australian accen ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An expertly mixed blend of the self-experimentation-as-journalism trend and a survey of current research on the effect of screen time on your average human being.

The writing is witty and smart, and alternates frequently between a journal of the disconnected experience and more objective overviews of studies that look at the issues just raised by the journal. It's like a television show that changes cameras every ten seconds: just when you're getting a little tired of one format, BAM! There's ano
I really enjoyed this book. As stated in the title, the author, a single mother of 3 teenagers) decides that their family needs to unplug so she declares their house a "screen-free" zone, meaning no TV, computers, or iPods. The book chronicles their experience as well as highlights some of the different research about how our constantly connected lifes are having on society. As an example, are our brains evolving so that today's children are actually able to truly multi-task. Or better yet, in t ...more
Jaclyn Day
Jan 04, 2012 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always been a little addicted to technology. My family used to have to drag me away from the family computer kicking and screaming and I was always tapped to do light troubleshooting for my friends or family members. Remember Geocities, IRC and all that? I do. (Sometimes I wish I didn’t.)

The other day I tweeted about all the technological gadgets I was surrounded by, and honestly? I’m surrounded by most of them all day for hours at a time. I have a chronic addiction to my iPhone and have be
Dec 09, 2011 L.J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale Susan Maushart, Penguin, $16.95 trade paper (329p) ISBN 978-1-58542-855-7

Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) embarked with her three teenagers on a six-month screen blackout (no cellphones, iPods, PCs, laptops, game stations, or television) to discover if the technology intended to stimulate and keep us virtually more connected was
Apr 03, 2013 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book for a dollar or two off Amazon after seeing a blurb about it somewhere online (yes, a little ironic). I'd already been thinking about this issue for a while, feeling uneasy about the increasingly obvious effects of my lack of restraint when it came to media usage. It was definitely ironic that the day after I ordered the book, we ran over our monthly internet allotment, and I ended up reading it during the ensuing weeklong web-access hiatus. Hah.

In this book, Susan Maushart discu
I picked this one up because I enjoy the "Do something for one year" and write about it genre. Cook like Julia, create a Happiness project, don't buy anything know. So the premise here is a single mom and her three teens go screen-less for 6 months. No computers, cell phones, TV, or iPods. Maushart's account is a well-researched, fascinating look at the effects of media on our lives. The brain research on how these tools impacts our kids is particularly interesting to me. We cannot mu ...more
May 12, 2015 Jeanette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I only got to about the half way point. The author is so off-putting in her style that I couldn't continue. It's far more a type of self-involved blog than a book. Theoretically I do think it has its perks as a concept (off the grid) and that's why I put it on my TBR list. But no, I can't do the entire tale about so little for so long. Too bribing, too unscientific, and results way too inexact for me in any connective value. Both her sense of humor and parental value system were at times, IMHO, ...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
The Winter of Our Disconnect is the story of a single mother who decides that she and her three teenagers will spend a six-month season (fall through spring in Australia) completely unplugged. She cancels their tv service, cell phone service, internet service, and removes everything with a screen from the house (including ipods, phones, gaming devices, televisions, and computers). They can use computers as needed at school and at the public library, but nothing with a screen is allowed in the ho ...more
Jan 05, 2012 JeNeal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sat on my "shelf" for weeks because I really didn't think I would enjoy it. I had decided it was another quirky book by an Australian, and it kind of is--but it's so much more. I finally just opened it in the middle to take a sample and I was indeed pulled into the story and the rest is history as they say. Susan Maushart is a New Yorker who happens to be living in Perth because (see pages 41-43). She is a columnist who has a wonderful way of taking all manner of the latest research ou ...more
Kadi Viik
May 26, 2013 Kadi Viik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Upplägget var lovande - en teknikglad mor med tre internetknarkande tonåringar bestämmer för att familjen ska leva utan medie- och kommunikationsprylar (förutom "gammaldags" radio, stereo och sladdtelefon) i ett halvår. Och för att få till en hard-core början stänger hon ned elen de första veckorna, mitt i den australiensiska högsommaren. Och skriver om experimentet. Hon skriver inte dåligt, det är rätt humoristiskt och jag tycker om att Maushart har tagit ett bredare grepp om ämnet med meningen ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could you give up your gadgets for half a year? Maushart and her three wired teenagers did, in what she called The Experiment. Recognising the great extent of their collective dependence on technology, and the impact it had on the family's interpersonal relations, this single Mother decided to see just what would happen when games, smart phones, iPods, PCs and other gadgets were banned at home. The book is very well written (she is a journalist for the ABC), cites many studies, quotes facts and ...more
An article about this book inspired our family of four to give up television for Lent this year and after waiting for a month for it to come off of the hold list at my library, I basically devoured this book. Although at four and six, my children are much younger than Maushart's, I really felt like this book was a cautionary tale about what happens when you allow technology to take over your children's lives; and your own. The examples of sleep deprivation and personality changes were eye-openin ...more
Jared Kelley
May 29, 2010 Jared Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise is epic and the results are riveting. Dr. Susan Maushart, a Perth based journalist for Australia's ABC, willingly leads herself and her three children into the life of a 21st century social-media-luddite, and it was the best decision she could have made. Far flung from the technophobic stigma that could be pinned to her for this experiment, her six months of technological reprieve rejuvenated her drive for life and her children's creative being. This book teaches us that social media ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely Fascinating! This family was about as fully immersed in technology as you can be. It was downright scary to read all the changes that occured in their lives from their little media experiment. Most of the book is devoted to research on topics like boredome, iphone,blackberry, and & ipod addiction, the impact of technology on schoolwork, eating and sleeping habits of teenagers ect. The authors quirky style, her journal at the time, and the hilarious comments by her hip teenagers ma ...more
Interesting, and sometimes very funny, but I did not relate well to Maushart's digital world, her dependence on email, phone etc. was more surprising to me than the results of her experiment.
Feb 19, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Enjoyed hearing everyones' reactions and adjustments to their experiment even if this was done so the mother could write a book about it.
Fem Lippens
I was surprised by the extensive vocabulary and beautiful use of words that Susan Maushart had written in her book. Although I loved the amount of humour and Maushart's wisdom about life that filled the book, I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. This book isn't written for adolescents but for adults, and I'm not yet one of the mature people. I felt too young to be reading thousands of percentages. Still this book made me think about my "slight" internet addiction and now I think twice befo ...more
May 25, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THANK YOU Maushart family for sacrificing 6 months of precious screen time. We are now able to use your tribulations and triumphs as an eye opening education.I would categorize this book as "Mandatory Reading for All". LOVED it. I am already averse to having technology so readily available at ALL times. This book was a reinforcer to my own beliefs and will (hopefully) be an eye opener for many "tech-ies". Have you ever realized how much we are "pushed" into more and more screen time? This only g ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the experiment, research, and subject of this book. Media usage in our home has been on my mind.
Warning: If you are squeamish about foul language, as I am, beware. The author, though not a down under native, seems to have adopted the indiscriminate use of swear words seemingly prevalent among the Aussies and New Zealanders I have encountered. She is a New Yorker which may also account for her offending vocabulary. It is not an every other word situation, just a few rather shocking bombs he
Sunny J
May 05, 2015 Sunny J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine waking up to an old-fashioned alarm clock and starting the day without a customized iPod playlist or the TCAT app to find the next bus to Kennedy Hall. As someone in the “iGeneration” reliant on technology, I was excited to read Susan Maushart’s book The Winter of Our Disconnect: How One Family Pulled the Plug and Lived to Tell/Text/Tweet the Tale. I was intrigued at Susan’s goal of going Internet-free for half a year, as she stated, “I could at least remember a time when things had been ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Even without Ms. Maushart's annoying witticisms (..."I try to read Walden at least as often as I have a pap smear." cringe.) this book failed to resonate. Much of what she writes is commonsense stuff. I was hoping for more anecdotal and instead slogged through data and studies.

And, I have to say again that the constant LOLs, attempts at humor, and forced self-deprecation really detracted from the book. This was not the story that I thought was described in many reviews. Disappointing.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! As I started through the first few chapters I thought, “Oh no, an Australian single mother with three teenagers, I’m never going to be able to relate.” I was quickly proven wrong as I sped through the rest of the book. I’ll admit it is a little statistic-heavy and full of references to research studies, but I still found the stories of Susan Maushart and her kids reminiscent of myself, my family, my friends, and my co-workers. It’s not surprising ...more
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The ending! 3 28 Jun 30, 2010 02:24PM  
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Columnist, author and social commentator Dr. Susan Maushart is a mother of three teenagers. For over a decade, her weekly column has been part of a balanced breakfast for readers of the Weekend Australian Magazine. Maushart is heard regularly on ABC Radio's popular online series 'Multiple Choice', and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia. ...more
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“...boredom is all about perception. It's a self-diagnosis, plain and simple. If you don't realize you're bored, you're not.” 8 likes
“Maturity is largely about acquiring the confidence and the competence to make your own decisions.” 6 likes
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