About Claudia Erickson
Claudia Erickson is the founder and CEO of Unplugged Village, a digital wellness company whose purpose is to help people power down screen time and power up experiences that increase human connection and community.
With 20 years of experience in maternal child health, Claudia is charting new territory in the digital wellness arena by crafting a public health program that is unique. She began this company after tiring of her never-ending case of “tech neck” and seeing the strain that too much tech time was having on her health and relationships.
Technology is a wonderful tool that is essential to most people's daily life, but it can also be anxiety provoking and endlessly time consuming. Let's face it, while there have long been distractions (many of us were TV addicts long before cell phones!), devices have never been more engaging than they are now. Having explored a variety of approaches to combat tech dependency, Claudia found a moderate program worked best for herself and her family (using tech that is useful, reducing tech that is a time sucker and replacing that time with alternative activities). As a wife and mother of two grown children, Claudia has a deep understanding of the many challenge’s parents face in raising a family in a digitally connected world. Ultimately, she learned from her struggles and found that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone. People are unique and have many factors to consider, but what seems to be universal is the need for tips to unplug and to have places to go that will be amenable to unplugging, even if just for an hour. Creating the Unplugged Village is an attempt to meet that need and to pull together businesses and places that support in-person connection and foster a sense of community.
Where did the name “Unplugged Village” come from?
My kids were worried the name I chose sounds like I’m running a cult. That’s pretty funny, but I promise that’s not the case. Over the past few years, I found myself talking to friends and strangers about the issue of tech dependency and many people shared my concerns. They would send me articles, ideas and ask how they could help. Parents, doctors, Uber drivers, and restaurant owners from all over the world all had something to say about the topic and a story to tell. The old adage, "it takes a village" really struck a note with me and thus the Unplugged Village was born. This name also conjures up images of the important role a village used to have for its’ residents. People would come to the local market, pub or center of the village to shop for goods and connect with friends and family. This sense of connection and community is an essential component to health, happiness and longevity. Thanks to the success of companies like Amazon, social media, Netflix and Uber Eats, life may be easier but it can also be isolating as people don’t have as much of a reason to go out into their community to get their needs met.
I want to bring the sense of the village back to communities and have spent a considerable amount of time learning about innovative ways to unplug more often and reconnect with my family, friends and community. This website serves as a resource for finding businesses that help us connect with one another in a meaningful way whether that's through unplugged dining nights, crafting at a local pub or laughing together at a backyard comedy night. It might be trying to make your way out of an escape room with your coworkers or going to the La Mesa Village Farmers Market where kids can search for Rodney Rooster and do other fun unplugged activities. Take a stroll around this website, where you can schedule a talk for your group or just find some places that may inspire you to carve out a little more time for the important people in your life. This list is just beginning to grow so please let me know of any unplugged recommendations you may have and check back often. Let’s build this Village together!
Prior to starting the Unplugged Village, Claudia earned a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health from San Diego State University. She has worked in the area of Maternal and Child Health for many years, holding positions with local hospitals (Rady Children's and Scripps Memorial), the California Distance Learning Health Network, and the San Diego Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. When she isn't working on the Unplugged Village, Claudia enjoys her time with her husband, two children, and dogs while happily putzing away in her garden.