Local youths urged to turn off their 'social networking' this weekend

Foothill High senior gains support for 3 days without high tech

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.

Maxoutopoulis 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 Pleasanton 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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Like this comment
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

AWESOME idea, Kourtnie! I have been on that bandwagon for years. After student-teaching at Foothill and having kids at Amador, I have gotten more and more disillusioned with the whole cell phone/Facebook/texting/email ways of communicating. I just drove 6 teens from both schools down to Long Beach and Disneyland for a few days, and they sat in their hotel rooms with their laptops open skyping friends back home or texting the ENTIRE time they weren't on rides or in the shower!! No exploring, no playing cards, no talking without a device of some sort between them.

Maybe our great-grandparents felt the same when the telephone was invented, or our grandparents when the TV was invented. Maybe its just the future of how people will build relationships (virtually) and maybe it is here to stay, but efforts like yours might just do for socializing what the "slow food" movement is starting to do for dining and cooking. Sometimes the old ways are better!

Like this comment
Posted by Great
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

This is such a great idea. I wish when I was in school someone would of put this together.

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Cranky
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

They could have gotten the message out much easier if they'd sent it as tweet.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Let me get this straight. Stop communicating, playing games and learning with your friends, then get into your car and drive to several locations around town so you can communicate, play games and learn with your friends.

Like this comment
Posted by Great idea, Kortnie!
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

What a wonderful idea, Kortnie! I'm a teacher at one of the middle schools and it disgusts me to see students texting while walking from class to class. Even worse are the laptop students who are playing video games at lunch. We have truly lost something with all of our technological advances and it's nice to see a student take charge.

Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Aug 20, 2010 at 8:26 am

Excellent, excellent, excellent idea--As a senior citizen I have seen too much of the youth of America walking along with their face down texting away endlessly--life is full of interaction without the cell phone and texting--as you change this in the next few days try also to say hello to a senior citizen walking your way or even another youth or person--your life will be better for it. I am proud that so many of you are on board with this idea.

Like this comment
Posted by Amy
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Aug 20, 2010 at 8:30 am

Yeah right..... I wonder what the percent of teens will do this. I would think parents would want them to keep their cell phones on when they go out this weekend....

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Posted by lyndalu
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Sounds like a fun idea. I'd be curious to see how many teens can make it an entire weekend without their tech devices. I have a teenage son and I know for a fact he wouldn't last 2 hours without getting on facebook or texting which makes me realize now that it's like an addiction. The kids should look at it like spending a weekend "in the olden days". :-)

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Posted by Wow
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Aug 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Nice job, Kourtnie! This will look great on your college apps!

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