“Nick News: Middle School Unplugged” Premieres Sunday, June 27 on Nickelodeon

Author: Nickandmore!

via Nickelodeon press release:


NEW YORK, June 21, 2010 – What happens when three text-happy, techie tweens take a challenge to unplug for a week? Nick News with Linda Ellerbee finds out in Middle School Unplugged, premiering Sunday, June 27, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon. Nick News asked kids across the country to go online and nominate a tech-obsessed friend or sibling who needed an intervention. Three offenders were chosen and challenged to abstain from using any form of technology for one week. The half-hour special follows their journey as they go seven days without smartphones, iPods, computers, MP3 players, video games, TV or radio. Yep. No texts, tweets or tunes.

“They are definitely the most connected generation ever, but should we worry about that?” asks Ellerbee. “If you’re becoming a tool of your tools, worry. If you’re confusing technology with (or substituting it for) real life, worry. This was an experiment. Did the experiment change these kids? See what you think.”

Michaela, 12, and Maddey, 12, nominated their friend Mary Catherine, 12, from St. Louis, Mo., for a tech intervention because, they say, she pays more attention to her cell phone than to her friends. Mary Catherine says, “I’m most definitely addicted to my phone and my computer and my iPod…in a day, I send over 200 texts.” And when her family goes out to eat? “My mom and dad, they just usually talk to each other, and I’m just in my own little world.” How was her week unplugged? Partly: “I learned I didn’t need technology all the time.” Partly: “They tried to teach me how to fish, but it didn’t work.”

Wade, 14, from Half Moon Bay, Calif, agreed to take the week-long challenge when his friend Eric, 14, nominated him. On a typical day, Wade watches at least an hour of online videos; he also video chats, tweets, instant messages, goes on Facebook, plays games on the iPad and reviews tech products for his blog, Teencastic. “I agreed to take this one week without technology,” says Wade, “but I felt like I wanted to call and cancel because I don’t think I’m fully prepared…technology is sort of part of my identity.” Sure enough, without technology, Wade got lost. Literally.

Deisha, 13, from Boston, Mass., was nominated by her friend Tara, 13, who feels that Deisha puts her “on hold” in order to text other people while they’re hanging out. Part way through the week, Deisha hit a wall. “I thought I was gonna be able to take it, handle it and I can’t. I might as well just go to bed and be sleeping right now.” But then she began to strum the guitar, to cook, to really be with her friends. And Deisha saw a way to be a different kind of kid. “I haven’t played like this since I was seven!”

Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is now in its 19th year and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Nick News recently was honored with its first ever Edward R. Murrow Award for “Network News Documentary” for the documentary special, “Coming Home: When Parents Return from War,” marking the first-ever kids television program to receive the prestigious award. Over the years, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations and recently won its seventh Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program for “Coming Home: When Parents Return from War.” Additional Emmy wins for Outstanding Children’s Programming include: “The Untouchable Kids of India” (2008); “Private Worlds: Kids and Autism” (2007); “Never Again: From the Holocaust to the Sudan” (2005); “Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan” (2002); “What Are You Staring At?” (1998).

In addition, in 1994, the entire series won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. Nick News has also received three Peabody Awards, including a personal award given to Ellerbee for explaining the impeachment of President Clinton to kids, as well as a Columbia duPont Award and more than a dozen Parents’ Choice Awards.

Nickelodeon, now in its 31st year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 15 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).