The other day, I drove down the street by the high school.Kids were standing by the fence, sitting on the sidewalk, or lounging on a car. No one was talking. All eyes were glued to their smartphone.All looked so serious. It felt creepy. Dystopian.
Today I found out why. A sharp drop in happiness, self-esteem and life satisfaction of American teens parallels ownership in smart phones which has jumped to 73% along with an increasing share of teen time spent on line.
According to the journal EMOTION, psychologists from San Diego State and the University of Georgia surveyed 1.1 million U.S. teens to determine why happiness and satisfaction plummeted in 2012 and continues to fall. They found that adolescents who spend more time on electronic communication and screens were less happy, less-satisfied with their lives, and had lower self-esteem.In contrast, those who spent more time with their friends in person, reading printing media, and playing sports, participating in group activities, and exercising were higher in psychological well-being.
I have no doubt that if the researchers had studied 1.1 million U.S. adults, they would have found the same results.
Some of the smartest managers I know insist on tech-free meetings. Without eyeballs glued to a screen, team members actually—gasp—talk to each other. They freely share ideas, concerns, explore issues, and devise plans.T hey laugh. They ponder. And they become human.
Where will you draw the line? Who is the master and who is the slave? It’s a serious and critical question. At the very least, can you be “brave enough” to create a tech-free boundary around yourself for a specific length of time? Parents, create a tech-free dinner hour. Take the family on a walk, explore a park, visit a museum. BE with each other.
We can’t pull together a horribly divided world without starting first in the context of our professional and personal lives.
Hanging up now. Turning off. What is your choice?