Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 20, 2010

Teens asked to unplug

by Glenn Wohltmann

Some Pleasanton teens may be white knuckling it this weekend as they step away from cell phones, texting, the Internet, iPods and even TV and radio.

Students from Foothill and Amador Valley high schools are putting together a tech-free weekend, encouraging their peers to "just say no" to the gadgets that are part of their everyday lives.

The idea comes from Foothill senior Kortnie Maxoutopoulis after talking with her mom about the days before cell phones and even the Internet, when her family shared a single phone line and calls were limited to 10 minutes.

Kortnie and her friends passed out fliers at the two high schools during registration this week, and she'll spread the word about the tech-free weekend -- where else? -- on Facebook.

She said the weekend will kick off with a meeting before tonight's concert in the park, and she has invited people to bring board games, Frisbees and blankets.

Saturday will start with a hike on the ridge at 11 a.m., and socializing at 3 p.m. at the dairy downtown. At 6 p.m. there will be games or the opportunity to just hang out at the sports park. On Sunday, there will be a swim party at Kottinger Ranch pool at 2 p.m., and a gathering at 6 p.m. at the tennis park.

Maxoutopoulis said the whole idea is to build personal relationships.

"People -- at first, they're kind of scared. They don't think they can do it," she said. I think it's really great for them to step out of the box, get to meet people, and get to know them face to face."

Maxoutopoulis said there's been some interest, but it's too soon to tell how many will show up. She said she doesn't mind if it starts slow, but is hoping the idea will spread.

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