After two weeks off with the family over the festive period I feel utterly refreshed. After a crazy few months I decided it was time to down tools, disconnect and reconnect with the real world. I spent hours walking, playing board games, watching TV (which I never have time to do) and cooking! It felt simple, raw and fantastic. No social media. No checking the Twitter feed first thing in the morning. No obsessing over LinkedIn. I disconnected.
Today (my first day back at work) this article in Forbes caught my eye.
As a mum of three girls, this bothers me. I believe in the power of social media and the enormous benefits that it brings to connecting people, creating conversations and learning from others.
However, I'm also very aware that it's addictive. Often the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you review at night. It's always on. It's hard to turn off.
In my opinion, the need to digitally disconnect is as important as digitally connecting.
Knowing when to take the conversation offline.
Knowing when to put the phone away.
Knowing when to disengage and be 'present' in the real world.
We've introduced rules in our house. No phones at the table. No screen time before breakfast. Guess the singer on the radio without Googling or Shazam-ing the song.
Based on the research in the Forbes article below I feel that my generation (the one that remembers life before the mobile phone) has a responsibility to the next generation to figure this out.
I don't know what the answer is but with research like this at our fingertips, we cannot ignore.
In general, girls used social media more than boys, with 40% of girls, and 20% of boys, using it for more than three hours per day. Only 4% of girls reported abstaining completely, compared to 10% of boys. And the more a person used social media, the greater their likelihood for experiencing depression symptoms: 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users had depression symptoms. The team found that three to five hours of social media per day was linked to a 26% increase in depression scores in girls, vs. 21% in boys, compared to kids who just used it from one to three hours/day. For more than five hours/day of social media, the increase in depression score rose to 50% for girls and 35% for boys.