Students in two Washington schools are taking a trip back to 1995-no Facebook, no e-mail, no cell phones.
In a social experiment somewhat inspired by the movie 'The Social Network,' the teenagers are competing to see who can last the longest without any of the modern-day communication tools that define their lives.
AdvertisementTrent Mitchell, a teacher at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, said that soon after 'The Social Network' came out, he chided his students for paying more attention to the cell phones in their hands than their classmates by their sides.
"I jokingly said, 'You guys couldn't go a week without social networks and texting,'" ABC News quoted him as saying.
"And one of my students [said] 'we should do that.' And about half the class cheered and about half the class booed," he said.
Ultimately, the half of the class that cheered won out and managed to convince not only classmates at their own school, but students at their rival high school, Shorewood, to participate in the experiment.
Mitchell said about 250 students and teachers at each high school are planning to go tech-free for the week. Students who survive the week - and don't get caught by the 'Facebook spies' who are monitoring students' online habits - stand to win prizes donated by businesses in the community.
Nate Matthews, 17, a senior at Shorewood High School, said that even one day into the experiment, he's realizing that old habits die-hard.
"When I woke up this morning, I had a thought and my first impulse was to post it on Facebook," he said.
Matthews locked up his cell phone at home so that he wouldn't be seduced into peaking at texts, but said, "It's weird not to have something in my left pocket."
He also said that for the first time in his seven-month relationship with his girlfriend, he had to ask for her home phone number.
And, worse yet, he said he'll have to endure the circa 1990s awkwardness of asking the parents if he can talk to his girlfriend.
"She always has her cell phone on her. Why would I call her home phone and have to talk to her parents? I like her parents but it's an awkward [conversation] that I've never had to do until this week," he said.
Katelyn Lahair, the 16-year-old Shorecrest junior who first took Mitchell's challenge seriously, said she warned her Facebook friends about her weeklong commitment, with the update: "Bye Facebook, see you next week."
But their teachers hope that the experiment encourages the students to think about how technology influences their lives-for better and for worse.
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