Filmmaker Examines Drug-Like Effects of Our Digital Devices

In his new documentary, “Electronic Crack,” Joe Piner captured the two-week journey of a teen who temporarily swore off technology.

As you leave the house, you grab your keys, your wallet and, of course, your cell phone.

That last item, Joe Piner believes, is taking over society. And it has inspired his latest documentary film, “Electronic Crack.”

“Our attention span is so small because we are so caught up in technology,” says Piner, 54, of Elkton. “It’s like a drug.”

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“Electronic Crack” follows Kyla Wilson, a 14-year-old middle school student in Maryland, as she gives up her cell phone and social media for two weeks. Wilson’s transformation, Piner says, is amazing. “She says she feels free. We truly are prisoners to our devices,” he says.

The idea for his documentary came from personal experience. “I gave my son a cell phone, and two months later he gave it back because it was too basic,” Piner says. “It hit me—there was my next film.”

Piner writes, directs and produces. He interviews a variety of experts for the film, including Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction; Dr. Peter Polos, chairman of the Summit Medical Group Sleep Disorders Center; Jim Lee, futurist and founder of Strategic Foresight Investments; and Dr. Chris Gibbons, chief health innovation adviser for the FCC. Piner expects the film to be released in local theaters in August.

To watch a trailer, visit

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