Disconnect to Connect
Thursday, April 25, 2019
By Amber Beach and Gina Guglielmana, originally published in RBUSD's Roll Call Newsletter

For centuries, people all over the world have participated in a variety of health-oriented cleanses, purges, and spiritually focused missions, all in the spirit of self-improvement. In our ever-growing, changing, and consuming world of technology, a different kind of detox may just be what doctors are prescribing today. According to Common Sense Media, the average teen spends nine hours per day online, which can contribute to a number of emotional and physical issues. There is an abundance of research to support that participating in a digital detox improves sleep, relationships, productivity, self-esteem, and overall mental health.

At Adams Middle School, the Wellness Committee spread awareness and education about the benefits of putting down your mobile device by hosting a school-wide Digital Detox Week from April 22–26. During this week, staff, students, and families were encouraged to make a concerted effort to disconnect from their devices, drones, and droids to connect more with their kinesthetic hobbies, and, most importantly, with each other. In preparation for a week of collectively decreasing our screen time, we frontloaded Adams families with a variety of uses for their hands, including volunteering at an animal shelter, trying a new recipe, visiting a farmer’s market, going to the California Science Center, and hiking to the Hollywood sign.

The encouragement of disconnecting to connect is not about dramatic life changes; rather, it is about being more mindful of our electronic use and making subtle yet meaningful changes to our lives. Changes in our daily routine can start by evaluating the time we spend—or do not spend—around the dining table. Whether it be breakfast or dinner, time around a table is critical for family bonding. It is a time to share our successes, gain support for our challenges, and check in with one another. While it is important to check or e-mails and phone calls sometimes need to be answered, it is essential that both parents and children set their phones down, close their laptops, and connect.

We invite you to join us in our commitment to creating closer connections by creating one new tradition as a family.