Do we need to “do something” about the effects of smartphones on teenage children? The backlash against the omnipresent devices has begun. Parents on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly worried that smartphones pose a threat to the current generation of teenagers, who have grown up with a phone almost constantly in their hand. Smartphones make our teenagers anxious, tired narcissists who lack empathy and the ability to communicate properly in person. Or so the story goes.
Join us for the 4th unplugging day events:
Is your family tired from being wired?
Is everyone, especially the children, sleeping well at night? If not, how much exposure does everyone have to tech devices and gadgets before bedtime?
Studies, like this one from Ohio State University, show a very strong correlation between electronic devices such as cellular phones, tablets, computers, and even television, and sleep deprivation. While the OSU study examined adults ages 18-39, a common result from a variety of studies indicates that the reason electronic devices cause restless sleep has to do with the frequency of the light they emit.
This is a huge factor in our ever-growing population of youth using technology. If this is bad for the adults, then it clearly can not be good for kids!
Of course, this technology also provides us with a lot of benefits – communication, entertainment, education and even family time are all facilitated by our phones, tablets, and computers. Finding the balance between these gadgets and sleep-time is tough, especially when we rely on them so much. Even some adults swear they can’t get to sleep without a television in the background, despite the mountains of evidence proving that this actually interferes with restful sleep. In fact, even using media devices as much as thirty minutes before sleeping can disrupt rest, for both children and adults! What can parents do to curb this?
The American Pediatric Association has some strategies for parents about getting kids unplugged before bedtime to ensure restful sleep. However, the most important thing is awareness of the effects of screentime before bedtime.
We rely on our technology so much that often we don’t give it a second thought, so it’s vital to be aware – both for yourself and for your little ones – what the effects of screentime actually are. Armed with this information, you can devise your own ways to ensure that your kids – and even you – have a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by media devices:
This post was written by Amy Williams
Great talks about various aspects of our relationship with our phones:
“In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values? www.timewellspent.io
What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks?
What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”?
What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in number of swipes?
As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.”
Text by “Time Well Spent”.
It is a movement to align technology with our humanity: timewellspent.io
Kelly Wallace, CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering new findings on teenage addiction to smartphone, including parenting in this age.
“The phone rings: it’s my friend checking to see if I can pick her up on the way to a dinner party. I ask her where she is and as she explains, I reach as far as I can across the countertop for a pen. I scribble the address in my trusty notebook I keep in my back pocket. I tell her I’ll be at her place in about 20 minutes, give or take a few. Then I hang up. Literally.
I physically take the handset receiver away from my ear and hang it on the weight-triggered click switch that cuts off my landline’s dial tone.”
A great write up by Jenna Woginrich for The Guardian.
If you feel so cool with your smartphone always in your hands and tons of likes in your Facebook status and posts, remember:
You get the most of your likes from people sitting on the toilet.
The last smartphone-related trend is the so-called phubbing: let’s find out what it is. It is shortly described as “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention”.
It is really overflowing! You can see it everywhere. Sometimes it’s surprising, some other times it’s strange, sad, frustrating or even non-sense, but it is there. You can see it.
Let’s play a game. After reading this post, spend a whole day paying attention to this phenomenon: wherever you go, in the pub, in the underground, during a meeting, in the restaurant, at the disco. Count how many times you can see phubbing event occurring around you. Then, do you a favour: question people’s behaviour and ask yourself why they are doing that. Yes, you got it. That’s what we stand for.
Please raise the awareness and help your neighbor.
Here you can find a well-buildt website that talks about phubbing. Enjoy it!
Put together a photographer and art. What you obtain is something always interesting, as interesting is Removed, the project created by Eric Pickersgill, a photographer from North Carolina. He decided to illustrate the psycological and social effects of how addict people have become to smartphones. The portraits show individuals who appear to be holding personal devices: the problem is that the devices have been physically removed from their hands. They were asked to hold their stare and posture as Eric removed their smartphones and tablets: «The photographs represent reenactments of scenes that I experience daily.»
Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.
Here is where you can find all the pictures he took for his project: http://www.removed.social/. Strange isn’t it?! You can simply slide the gallery (as far as – I assume – you are reading this article with your favourite device). At first it may be quite creepy or misplacing, yet it’s merely a nipping report of every-day-life scenes: and I agree with you, it is annoying at a certain point. Art is expression: here art throws back in your face what today’s problem is. It may not have answered any why-question nor told us how to solve this situation: art helps pointing out. Being sarcastic is one of its ways, and it surely pushed and still pushes people asking questions (which is – after all – what art is best at).
Here you can watch the making of and the starting ideas of Eric.
“You’re not the boss of me now! And you’re not so big” sang They Might Be Giants in one of their most famous songs. That’s what we want to say to our technology device. Especially when they rule our day.
Here are the 5 strongest signs that prove you are addicted to your smartphone.
#1 You feel anxious without it
Not knowing where it is, accidentally leaving it at home or even finding your pocket empty while searching with your hand feel you with an uncomfortable sense of dread, that sometimes leads you to panic. If you feel your smartphone a part of you, a tool you can’t live without, then you have an unhealthy dependence on it.
#2 You are antisocial
You are in a pubblic place with friends or your family, but you spend more time playing around with your phone than talking and laughing with them. Maybe you are at the dinner table and you regularly feel the compulsion to check your phone or take a picture of the food. Your family and friends even started complainig about how antisocial your behavior has become.
#3 You struggle to focus
During a face-to-face conversation with someone, it’s hard for you to stay focused and concentrate on what you’re talking about. You lose eye-contact too easily with them zoning out and staring into space; and perhaps you start thinking about checking your Facebook notifications, your e-mails or seeing if someone texted you. Watch out: your smartphone is leaving your mind in a hyperactive and constantly distracted state and, more often than not, you find yourself stretching your arm trying to take your phone without even thinking about it.
#4 Your phone is in charge
You let your smartphone decide on your daily schedule. Usually every day looks the same with you spend hours and hours along with your head buried in your smartphone screen playing games or scrolling your Facebook wall. You start showing up late for your meetings and even dates with your partner. Your slowly becoming an unreliable person causes unpleasant situations.
#5 You feel the need to document everything
Philippe Kahn, the man who created the first mobile phone equipped with a camera, surely was not aware of what would have happened. Nowadays, with every smartphone it is possible to document and keep trace of almost everything that happens around us during our day. Moreover – believe me – no one is going to watch or pay attention to the pictures or videos you took when you were at that concert or another certain kind of event. Don’t look at the reality through a screen and enjoy your surroundings, rather than trying not to let things slip away by using your smartphone. The best memories are the ones you fully lived!
The smartphone is an incredibile and useful device when used in the right way. But when it ends up making us busier to the point where we lose touch with what is actually important, then we need to make a change. The over- or misuse can be treated following our advises: try out the smartphone fast you can find some posts below and, if you feel like it, send us a picture for our column PHONE FACED DOWN.
Undigitize.me team wishes you a happy and joyful 2016, waiting for the 2018 with its incoming product.
It seems this guy tried our smartphone fast out! It is always nice to hear stories like these. You feel closer to the people you listen to and you feel you’re not the only one on earth who is facing this real problem.
May this video give you readers the strength you are seeking to keep on keeping on, to face hard times (coming from the will to change) being sure that life is beautiful and, mostly, it is out there waiting for you.
There is a before/after in our life; and with “our” I mean we people born before the digital natives generation. I am talking about the moment when the smartphones decided to walk in our lives and take possess of them.
It was not that long ago, actually. Up until only 10 years ago we were able to handle our life (with all its cheerful time and struggles) without smartphone at all. Now most of us can’t imagine a day – and a life* – without it. It didn’t take them that long and, in a blink of an eye, basically everyone started walking down the streets with the face stuck to the smartphone screen.
* usually a feeling reserved to the soulmate.
Do we really need it? Do we remember how it was before?
Here are some pictures that ironically show you the difference.
“I won’t steal it. I promise!”“What was your number again?”
. . .
“Did anyone say something??”
What if now I tell you to change our point of view? Let’s read the pictures from right to left. Do you still think a change is impossible?
He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. That’s what an English proverb says. But I would rather suggest you to fast until you reach the point when you perfectly know how to start a diet.
Let me explain what I mean.
Every day we are overwhelmed by so much information.
If you’re like me and a lot of other people in this world – and if your life is similar to mine and theirs -, you are probably surrounded by thousands of stimuli: rivers of news constantly flow over your steps coming mostly from the Internet, TV and radio, and making you sick. Be careful, this can leave you flood-damaged!
It is called information overload.
Your brain is not made to process this whole amount of information. You can surely do it, but it gives you a lot of stress and, in the end, what will be left of the information we didn’t have enough time to give real value to?
And now, let’s talk about time.
Take a minute to think about how much time you spend in contact with the information sources. The fingers of one hand are sadly too less to count the hours! How many goals you could accomplish if you cut those activities out of your life.
And now think that there is one device that, more than the others, is taking possession of your life: yes, you are right if you are thinking about your smartphone.
The following paragraphs will guide you, step by step, to a new way of conceiving your relationship with it.
By approaching the Zen philosophy, you are asked to embrace simplicity in order to make your existence better. And for doing that, all you have to do implies three important steps: taking time to think, noticing how your life can really change and, eventually, planning what and how to edit your life in order to break your bad habits. But don’t be scared and tune out yet, as – I can guess – lots of you are using the smartphone. This can really be a way to handle and solve our issue: smartphone addiction.
Let’s start by saying that it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. You’ll get better over time, and more motivated after seeing the first positive results.
_The First Step
The first step is the most difficult one: to be able to think, you need to take time and for doing it you have to temporary disconnect. That’s what we call the fasting period. Just like a fast, you are supposed to live your life without your smartphone, without checking the e-mails and the messages from your online subscriptions (it sounds unbelievably impossible, but it is not!). It is a kind of medical therapy for the life-worsening condition you are stuck in.
It is undoubtedly hard as you are asked to give up on something that has become part of your daily life.
Start small. Here are my tips for you.
- If you can’t go without your phone, try using less applications. Uninstall apps you never use, you will be surprised how much junk you can find in your storage. Cut away your messenger app for a day, then add another one to your no-list. Add as many as possible.
- Try reducing the time you use your phone. Leave it at home when you go out with your kids for a walk or to meet a friend in a restaurant. Keep it inside the drawer during lunch hour to have a talk with a colleague. Allow yourself to touch it only for 3 hours a day, 2 hours a day, 1 hour a day. You’ll be amazed how easy it is. There will be so much real life to distract you.
- Try a specific time during your day. While in the previous tip you are allowed to use your phone in a total of a fixed time a day, try now to have this fixed time during a specific part of your day. Try using your phone only in the morning before work, after putting the groceries away when you come home after going to the supermarket, or after putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Stick to it.
- Keep track of your time. You will be shocked when you will see at the end of a day or a week (let’s not talk about a month) how much time you wasted. Track the time you spend with the smartphone in your hands and write it down in a spreadsheet. Trust me, it will be jaw dropping and, somehow, scary.
- Master-fast. You are now ready for the highest level. You feel well prepared for what is ahead of you: a day without your phone. Not challenging enough anymore? Try a week! Try a month. You go, man!
_The Second Step
It is when you find yourself drastically into another dimension of living that you start thinking and meditating about what has changed. Welcome to the second step! There will be some struggles but, if you stay strongand keep on doing it, you will succeed. Living without your smartphone will allow you to open up yourself to new challenges and new experiences. Try to think what this personally means for you. You can even write everything down.
- How did my productivity change?
- Was I able to get more things done?
- Did I spend more time with my family and friends?
- Did I have more time for myself and goals I wanted to accomplish since so long?
- Do I feel less stressed?
- Did someone else notice a change?
- How did I fill the time I usually spent with my phone?
Your findings can be shocking, funny and relieving all at once.
We talked about new experiences. Yes, but which kind of new experiences?
There are people around you that you never noticed (maybe this cute girl or boy who just started working in your office), you finally had the time to meet up with an old friend, you got to know new people to go out with, on your way to work you met a group of fans of your favorite football team on the train and went to a match together with them, you found books in your shelf that someone gave to you for Christmas 5 years ago and you found a new favorite author, you discovered your old hobbies again and explored nature more frequently, you finally got to spend more time with your children – and the list goes on and on. You will be able to fully enjoy every moment being in contact with the others and, maybe, your friends will be so inspired by you to start the project their own – and you will be there to encourage them as well to think about the meaning of their lives.
You fill up the time you usually spent with media in a more healthy and personal way. This is great, celebrate your success!
_The Third Step
Now it’s the right time to talk about what and how. Like newspaper editors, you have to learn to edit brutally and cut out everything that’s not necessary: that’s the only way to make the meaningful story come up.
But is it even possible? Yes, it is. Here are some ideas: you have to dive into it, with no fear, and try; this way you will find out what the right method for you really is.
- Start again. Once your fast is over, re-think your smartphone intake. You may discover that cutting it out in the evening, for example, isn’t as hard as you thought, and that it helps you getting a lot of things done. Instead of allowing yourself to dive right back into your old smartphone habits, use your device more thoughtfully from now on. Shutting off the rivers of information that come at you every day will give you peace of mind. Spending time without your smartphone will help you focusing more and longer.
- Set specific goals. It is not because we are talking about smartphone addiction, that you can feel free to replace one device with another time-waster, such as computer, tablet or TV. Set a goal that you would like to accomplish in that day, or that week, and work hard on it. Be specific about how you want to spend your time and stick to your schedule, like your learned it during your fasting time. As the days go by, you will surely notice that you can use the time, you would normally spend on media, to accomplish actions that further your goals. Ask yourself which mistakes you made and how your addiction tried to possess you again.
- Listen to what your body says. As we stated in the beginning, it is not in fasting and refusing blindly the power of smartphones; it is in knowing how to take control (and not letting it take control) and starting a healthy diet, for your body, for your mind and for your relationships. And, while doing it, listen to your body, how it reacts and how it develops. It speaks louder than what you imagine!
The third step will show how you changed inside. At that point you will be able to take decisions and finally change the outside, starting from your habits and your relationships.
We hope this introduction will help. Please feel free to let us know your tips and tricks and give us a review on how this fasting affected you. And if we didn’t manage to convince you, at the end of this post, well at least… give it a try!
That’s a lecture I give from time to time about UNDIGITIZE.ME.
I thought I’d share the slides with the world.
Did you ever find yourself in front of the mirror
“Okay! From now on I promise I will change. I will change my habits and the way I use my phone. I will reduce and unplug. I promise.”
speaking to the reflected-you like this?
Let me ask you another question. How many times did it happen?
If your answer is more than once, it means that your good intention and that resolute and determined version of you failed somehow. Well, we can tell you that you’re not the only one around here. Despite all the effort, it always seems we are going nowhere or we are stuck.
But someone decided to write a book about it and now we are glad to tell you that you can make it!
Here you are: 365 Ways to Log Off and Live Better – that’s what the title says. This little book offers 365 achievable ways to take small breaks from technology during your everyday life; its suggestions may encourage you to unplug from electronics and appreciate your surroundings. With an inspiring sentence for every day of your year, you will be able to live better, notice it and reflect on the power of unplugging.
Enjoy the reading!