Last week a millennial woman shared with me that she didn’t own a smartphone. To be honest, I didn’t know you could even buy a flip phone anymore, but she retrieved it from her purse to confirm this counter-cultural reality. She shared the freedom of using her phone to take phone calls and nothing else. That reality felt both intriguing and terrifying to me. While I know I’m too tied to my electronic devices, I wondered if there might be a less drastic way to regain some control.
Adam Alter, professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, suggests that learning when to turn off our devices or creating “stopping cues” can help us live happier, more engaged lives. Not bringing our phones to bed or refusing to bring them to the dinner table can be great ways to untether ourselves from some of the negative effects of constant engagement with people who are not in front of us.
Our commitment at CARES is helping replace screen time with real face time. Not because technology is bad, but because we need some help setting boundaries that will increase our mental, emotional and physical health. As research continues to uncover that increased screen time correlates to increased feelings of isolation, depression and unhappiness, we will have to be intentional about disconnecting and engaging in more face-to-face interactions. Contact us to see how we might work with you to create communities of real engagement.