In her weekly talk during Monday assemblies, Forman School psychologist Dr. Barbara Tarkin recently shared some research and advice on the merits of remembering to "unplug" from our cell phones and tablets. When people put their devices away, they report less jealousy, anxiety, and depression. "It's important for us to develop face-to-face conversational skills," said Dr. Tarkin. "We need to really be with each other in real time." Many people feel that being connected will make them feel less alone, but often that connection causes you to be alone in a room full of people because you're not relating to your friends and family while you constantly check your digital profile(s). Social media can actually prevent us from being truly social.
A good way to start is to unplug for a short amount of time on a regular basis and build on it over time. Start with a "no devices" after dinner policy, for example. Teens can ask their friends to unplug with them so no one feels they are missing anything. For an insightful overview of the issue, Dr. Tarkin recommends a TED Talk by Sherry Turkle called "Connected but Alone."