What is the longest length of time you’ve been without a digital device? In our evermore digitized world, being compulsively “connected” 24/7 has become the norm. Unfortunately for the iGeneration, many kids today are compulsively attached to their digital devices and social media, and the thought of disconnecting is unbearable. The digital connection leads to a restriction of real-life activities, as the pixels and “likes” come to replace actual human interactions. All the while, self-esteem and worth are only garnered through external sources of “followers” and “likes” rather than internal means, such as achievements and real-life successes. The result is a vicious cycle of anxiety, narcissism, isolation, depression, and even catastrophic fear at the thought of being separated from the device.
Families often become unwilling participants and enablers by allowing unlimited usage of devices, paying for data usage, and primarily communicating with their children through texting rather than directly face-to-face. Yet, simply taking away devices can leave the child angry, resentful, and even more isolated. This presentation reviews the challenges of disconnecting in today’s digitized world, reviews the consequences of digital addiction, and offers tips and tools to detox digitally in order to minimize the effects of digital separation anxiety.