Opting out of Digital Media showcases the role of human agency and cultural identity in the development and use of digital technologies. Based on academic research, news and trade reports, popular culture and 105 in-depth interviews, this book explores the contemporary "opting out" trend. It focuses directly on people’s intentions and the many reasons why they engage with or reject digital technologies. 

Author Bonnie Brennen illustrates the nuanced thinking and numerous reasons why people choose to use some new technologies and reject others. Some interviewees opt out of digital technologies because of their ethical, political, environmental, religious or cultural beliefs. Other people consider new media superficial diversions that do not meet their expectations, needs or interests while some citizens worry about issues of privacy and security and reject digital technologies because of their fears. Still other people construct their cultural identities through the choices they make about their use of new media. In many cases the use or nonuse of digital technologies offers specific representations of how people assert their independence, authority and agency over new media, while in some cases the choices that people make about new technologies also illustrate their class position or socioeconomic status.

Opting Out of Digital Media responds to the growing opting out trend, addressing the developments in the unplugging phenomenon. It serves as the ideal text for any reader interested in the role of digital technologies in our lives and how it has become a part of a mainstream movement.

chapter 1|12 pages

Getting started

chapter 2|16 pages

Digital temperance movement

chapter 3|15 pages

The case of artificial intelligence

chapter 4|15 pages

Coexisting technologies

chapter 5|13 pages

The culture of opting out

chapter 6|16 pages

Online privacy concerns

chapter 7|16 pages

The case of social media

chapter 8|12 pages

The status of opting out