If you are like me you look at your gathered group of teenagers having a discussion or talk and see a constant drop of the eyes into the screen of the cell phone. Could be a text, most likely a text. Could even be them reading the bible, not often is it reading the bible, but has happened. There is little denying that our current technologies enable us to do many great things. Today’s technologies also enable our young millennials to be stressed about more things.
In some recent research by the folks at USC, highlighted here:
A survey that explores the views of Internet users ages 13 to 91, which was conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, a design-driven research and strategy firm, found nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents feel they are able to do more in less time with their technology.
Forty-five percent said they have more time for their family and friends because technology enables them to do work from anywhere, with 55 percent admitting they would rather work remotely than in the office. Seventy-two percent said they are excited to try new technology.
However, these services also exact a personal toll in the form of increased stress, struggles to learn new technology and conflicts in separating careers from personal lives. Sixteen percent said their personal lives have suffered because of technology in their work lives, and one-fifth (20 percent) said they frequently resent having to work at home because of what technology makes possible.
One-quarter of survey respondents said they struggle to figure out new technology, while 31 percent said technology has made it harder to separate their work and personal lives; 26 percent said they are stressed because technology has made them always on call for work.
Survey results also indicated a rift between Millenials and non-Millenials on several issues involving the consequences of using technology, as evidenced by the finding that larger percentages of Millennials than non-Millennials report personal problems that result from using technology.
One-quarter of Millennials said being accessible through a mobile device has made their lives more stressful, compared to 20 percent of non-Millennials, and 19 percent of Millennials who are employed said their personal lives have suffered because of the technology in their work lives, compared to 15 percent of non-Millennials.
“Millennials may embrace technology more enthusiastically than non-Millennials, but larger percentages of them also recognize that using technology comes with consequences,” Greg Bovitz, president of Bovitz and a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future, said in a statement.
It may seem painful at first for youth to grasp this, but what would youth look like if teenagers checked their cell phones at the door?.. Could we create a culture that is a place of less stress, void of that constant connection point which tugs at the young millennials? What might that look like?
How could we create that?
I like the idea of the cell phone basket and challenging them to be with who is there. This is not always the easiest pitch to make. You might even encounter some faces of death as they debate internally whether to comply with you or not. Model by example. I am probably the worst at this, but often I try to remind myself to stick the phone in my briefcase and not to pull it out till I am out of the church doors. Many times during those moments I am painfully aware of how much the youth are using their phones.
Here is a great little graphic print out if this fits your style in getting youth to check their phones.
Do you have other ideas for helping youth & young people break from the stressful habits associated with smart phones and being constantly connected?
Know of any good retreat places that still are without cell coverage? Those are always fun.