With the month of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we felt it to be a perfect time to shed light on a topic that we feel is so important to discuss. Nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, but most would rather portray that all is great in their lives, rather than seek treatment or even discuss what they are feeling with those they are closest to.
So how does cell-phone use and social media play into our mental health? Research is beginning to show that cell phone addiction is a very real thing and we could potentially be raising the loneliest generation. This digital age we are currently living in, is fine with not knowing their neighbors, playing outside, attending parties or being social amongst each other – everything is taking place on some sort of online platform. Social interaction is at an all-time low and there is no doubt that the digital age is impacting adolescent mental health. This current generation, also known as Generation Z, has everything immediately accessible with just a few clicks. There is no longer the need to write down directions on how to get to your friend’s house, no looking up what a word means in a dictionary, no wondering what your favorite celebrity does in their free time, no more waiting to get home to watch your favorite show – everything is immediately accessible, seemingly making your life more convenient and connected.
Well, what else does this immediate accessibility come with? Less human one-on-one interaction. Less need to communicate with strangers and ask questions. Less time outside. Less time spent with your parents and families. Less sleep. Less time focused on school. Less time creating real relationships.
What is the point of this discussion? Just that, to talk about a current epidemic that is happening all around us and is directly affecting the mental health and stability of younger generations, through social pressures and expectations. This is one of the many reasons we feel so strongly about living Life On. Cell Off™. We know it is unrealistic to never use your phone, but it can be mentally beneficial to take short breaks from your devices to check yourself back into life and to check in on others as well. Sometimes a smile, a small act of kindness or just a ‘hello’ can turn someone’s really bad day into a better one.
What are some things Parents can do, to help protect your child’s mental and physical health by making social media a more-balanced aspect of life?:
Unplug and get outside: Take some time to Go Lo.Co (Life On. Cell Off™), unplug and get outdoors. There are so many benefits that have proven to come from nature, and it is a great way to clear the mind and make real-time connections. Plus, it is introducing a healthier lifestyle by getting outside to explore and exercise both physically and mentally.
Lead by Example: Monkey see, monkey do! If you are really trying to limit the device usage in your home, you must lead by example. Set an electronic curfew for the fam or make rules to put all devices away during specific times. A routine can get everyone on the same schedule and set expectations on when to limit their phone use.
Have open conversations: Sometimes having an honest and open conversation about appropriate online behavior, can help your child understand potential real-life consequences and allow them to make better decisions under pressure. Cell phones, apps and teen lingo are all constantly changing and evolving, so try to keep those doors of communication open with your loved ones, so you can stay up to date with whatever is considered cool in that moment.
So please keep in mind that 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition and that you ARE NOT ALONE. In a time that can feel so lonely, there are multiples organizations and outlets to reach out to, who can help or just listen. Here are a few of our favorites:
- National Alliance of Mental Illness: @namicommunicate (https://nami.org)
NAMI helpline: 800-950-6264
- Hope for the Day: @hopefortheday (https://my.hftd.org)
- Sip of Hope: @sipofhope (https://sipofhope.com)
- You can also locate treatment facilities in your area by using the SAMHSA Treatment locator available at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Please take this message as a small reminder to be more present and to tune in to those around you. Some people are not always screaming out for help and together we can make a difference by keeping these conversations going. Life On!
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LO.CO MEMORIAL DAY SALE - Don’t miss out! Be ready for your next event. Order a Lo.Co Starter Set for your guests to put their devices aside in the Lo.Co Device Bag and use the Lo.Co Starter Cards to start great conversations. Perfect for parties, dinners, office events or rainy days at home. There’s a Spanish version too.