(ETX Daily Up) – Abandoning smartphones, boycotting social media, distrusting tech companies… Contrary to our ultra-connected lives, some people choose to turn their backs on this society. They are called Neo-Luddics. This movement is on the rise, especially among the younger generation.
Today we live in an ultra-connected society. New technologies are emerging and the use of social networks is becoming more and more democratic among younger and younger people. According to a French study by the agency Heaven, 89% of 12-year-olds have their own smartphone and 87% of 11-12 year olds regularly use at least one social app. According to an INSEE study, mobile devices have become indispensable in France: 95% of the population own a mobile phone and 77% in particular a smartphone.
But this ultra-connected lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Some want to break away from social networks or even reject technology. A movement called Neo-Luddism or Modern Ludism. Historian François Jarrige defines this movement on the Obs as “a fog of people who believe that technology is alienation rather than a means of emancipation”.
What is Neo-Luddism?
The term derives from the Luddist movement, named after Ned Ludd, an English worker who protested the use of weaving machines in the late 18th century. He immediately initiated an underground movement called “The Luddites”, nicknamed “The Machine Breaker”. Since then, the fight against the mechanization of work has evolved into opposition to the advance of new technologies. In 1990, American activist Chellis Glendinnings brought the term “Luddite” back into vogue in her book “Luddite”.Notes on a Neo-Luddite Manifesto”, which states Neo-Luddism, an anti-tech activist movement.
According to the Observateur media, neo-Luddism has multiple struggles: environmental struggles against GMOs and nuclear power, denunciation nanotechnology, refusal to keep records in daily life, resistance to security regulations (bracelets for newborns, cameras on the street). Today, Luddism, or neo-Luddism, is more of a way of defying government surveillance and some form of capitalism.
rebellion and self-liberation
Recently the newspaper of New York Times was able to follow the everyday life of the “Luddite Club”, a group of high school students from Brooklyn in the United States that promotes a lifestyle of self-liberation from social media and technology. Its 25 members have decided to give up their smartphones but also social networks. They also offer one-hour digital courses to other students. High school students highlight the benefits of this lifestyle: better self-esteem, less anxiety about social media, increased interest in reading and the outdoors. To join in: physical appointments and flip phones. your source of inspiration? A 1996 book, Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, is the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man who died trying to live in the Alaskan wilderness.
According to a study by US marketing firm Hill Holliday of Generation Z — people born after 1995 — half of those surveyed said they had left at least one social media platform, or were thinking about doing so. In 2020 in the United States, a movement called Log Off, which defines itself as a youth movement run by teenagers for teenagers, decided to create a space for conversation about the ills of social networking and making it more healthy to use. The movement has worked with thousands of teenagers in more than a dozen countries, documenting the stories of a generation increasingly concerned about putting their mental health in the hands of for-profit tech companies.