Turn off and tune in this MoodOff Day

Turn Off and Tune In This MoodOff Day

With isolation in our connected world and depression rising to epidemic proportions, smartphone addiction awareness charity MoodOff Day is focussing this year’s International Awareness Day on February 24 on our children.

Under the motto of ‘Talk to Your Children Before Technology Does’, the 2019 campaign (their seventh) is all about connecting first and foremost with the people closest to you – not your phone.

Research shows that the average smartphone user spends a minimum of 35 hours per week on our devices. That’s almost another full-time job – and even more time away from our loved ones! While we all have excuses just why we do this, we often overlook the fact that we role-model to our youngsters a behaviour that is essentially ruled by technology and our digital devices.

Sure, our lives have been digitised and our kids will face even more of this with over 40 per cent of the jobs our primary school-aged children will perform not even existing yet, and 60 per cent of these being technology-based. But do we deprive our children of the essential human and interpersonal skills and, more importantly, the connection we all need in order to navigate our fast-changing world in positive ways?

On MoodOff Day we are asked to turn our phones off for five hours on the morning of Sunday the 24th of February. I can already hear some of you complain “how on earth am I going to manage that?” – but therein lies the problem. Are you addicted to your smartphone? What about your kids? Are we using our devices to make our lives easier, or are they, in fact, ruling every part of our day and impeding upon family time, me-time, or most importantly, uninterrupted time with our kids?

If you cannot go for five hours without your phone – chances are you’re addicted to your beloved phone. While we might think it is acceptable to start our day by checking Facebook messages, emails and post ‘likes’, and after a long day of frequently checking our screens (on average 10 times in an hour) to finish our day by scrolling before falling asleep, it may not be a good foundation for our little ones.

Concerns about the impacts of smart devices have long been mounting with more research pointing to increasingly addictive behaviour among smartphone users of all ages – but especially young people and children. It is, of course, not about doing without these devices, but raising awareness so we can use them in ways that minimise the negative impacts, especially for younger generations.

MoodOff Day runs various awareness programs including minimising cyberbullying in schools, reducing texting while driving and reducing screen time for young children. Go to www.moodoffday.com to learn more about their smartphone addiction awareness campaign, and how you can pledge your participation.


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