Watch CBSN Live

Man Takes 5-Day Break from Tech -- In Bathroom!

For most of us, the thought of going a day without Internet access is unbearable. And we could all agree that our reliance on laptops and mobile devices to stay connected has gotten out of hand.

Mark Malkoff is a New York City comedian and self-proclaimed Internet addict who decided to take some drastic steps to curb his addiction.

Malkoff says that, before his experiment, he spent the majority of his time surfing the Web.

"I like the Internet," he said. "I really really like the Internet."

The self-confessed Internet addict was online so much, it was creating problems in his marriage. So he began a five-day detox in the one place he wouldn't be tempted to log on -- the bathroom.

Just hours into the experiment, Malkoff changed his tune.

He said at the time, "I just want to go on record saying that this was a terrible, terrible idea."

Cut off from the Internet, and with boredom setting in, he was forced to improvise. He even brought his cat in to play the keyboard.

Friends dropped by to visit, and he even found time for a workout -- by doing push-ups on the toilet!

But despite the distractions, Malkoff struggled to adjust to life without the Internet.

He said during that time, "My whole project is stupid. I need the Internet so bad."

Finally, after five long, digital-free days and nights, Malkoff emerged. Not offline completely, but certainly more aware.

Malkoff, his wife, Christine Malkoff, and Brian Balthazar, editor of, appeared on "The Early Show" to talk about the experience and the phenomenon of digital addiction.

So why the bathroom?

Malkoff said, "I tried to do (this) several times in my daily life, tried to stop being online, and I would last about an hour. I thought. 'In New York City, where is there a place where there are zero temptations and zero distractions?" And the only place I could come up with was my bathroom."

Malkoff said he took on the experiment because he always felt the need to be plugged in to the online world.

"I don't know, it was just seven or eight years ago we didn't have this problem, but for some reason I had to check multiple sites an hour, go on e-mail every five minutes, and if people watch the video at, they can see this was a detox."

Christine said she was "horrified" when her husband told her he was going to give up the internet and take up residence in the bathroom -- especially because she'd still be using it.

She told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill, "I lived there and used the bathroom."

Malkoff says he missed his bed most while in the pink bathroom for five days.

"Porcelain bathtub, not comfortable, I had no idea," he said.

He added, "But the news site is really strange I'm a news junkie, not knowing what was going on psychologically, I need the late-breaking, Twitter and Facebook and stuff, everything, especially. But I found during the week as it progressed it got easier."

Hill said, "It is funny how we are addicted to this but can't live without it."

Balthazar said of Malkoff's case, "I think maybe his is extreme, but not uncommon and I think people know who they are, they try to hide it. They even get phantom vibrate when their phone isn't on they feel it vibrate. They are out there, people doing this, not uncommon. People are tweeting about a biological function. That's too much."

So how can you curb your digital use if you think it's becoming a problem?

Balthazar said, "I would say don't quit cold turkey. Ask anyone, Lindsay Lohan. But wean yourself off. You can declare no phone zones. At a movie theater, you are not allowed to use your phone. Some theaters are actually disabling the signal. At dinner, one of the few times a day you across from someone you care about. That's one way. Give your phone or technology a curfew. People go to bed at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, I don't think others should expect you to answer an e-mail."

Malkoff says his need for the web has eased since the break.

"When I walk down the street I'm not on my iPhone, and notice the nature in New York City, as much as there is. But it's helped and help me be self-aware and create boundaries."

Christine said her husband's break from tech has really helped him -- and their relationship.

"I think he is definitely more aware of it and will catch himself, he'll be checking it and catch himself, and be focused more on me."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue