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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

National Turn Off Your Phone Day?: Letter from the Publisher

Pat and Michelle

As I looked over the articles for Earth Day month, something stood out in our Healthy Kid’ssection. Among the many great suggestions, “Engage in Real-Life Tweets” urges us to get the kids out in nature and listen to real birds. It reminded me that the digital age can have extremely negative effects on our kids. I read a report recently about the rise in stress and anxiety among millennials. Surprisingly, among the top ten self-reported triggers were the following:

-Losing their smart phone

-Slow Wi-Fi

-Forgetting their chargers

(Good thing they didn’t live through the Great Depression or WWII…)

Social media is particularly harmful to under developed brains and emotional intelligence in children. It has been increasingly linked to depression and bullying in adolescence because much of the content they are exposing themselves to can be reduced to a popularity contest. And it is an addiction of sorts for many of them. Anyone (young or old) who has ever felt emotionally hostage to the number of “likes” they get can relate. It really messes with your head. Imagine what this effect can have on children who are not equipped to handle that kind of pressure. Especially adolescent girls, who are much more susceptible to assaults on their self-esteem.

Wouldn’t it be a better environment for children if the cultural standard were to drastically limit the use of digital media and simply let them be kids?

Perhaps this Earth Day is a good opportunity to have the kids relinquish the phones just for a day, in order to learn and appreciate what nature has to offer instead.

It’s good advice for all of us actually…

Happy Earth Day!


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