“DIGITAL DETOX: Fasting from Technology in Pursuit of Genuine Education”

President Kyle Washut delivered the following talk at Notre Dame as part of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture’s 23rd Annual Fall Conference, Dust of the Earth: On Persons.

Since its inception in the foothills of Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains, Wyoming Catholic College has focused on a particular form of fasting in its approach to educating the whole person; namely, a fast from technology—from cell phones, television, and the internet. These devices were initially welcomed as a means of drawing us closer together, but are increasingly recognized by scientists and teachers alike as technologies that distance and isolate humans, eroding the essential human interactions that they (and we) owe to one another. Drawing on the broader tradition of fasting and on the particular experience of the technology fast at Wyoming Catholic, this presentation explains the reasons behind implementing such a fast, addresses the concerns from those who might see such a fast as luddite or isolationist, and considers the particular benefits such a fast offers as part of a holistic education, both in the formation of individual students and also in the cultivation of a truly Christian community.