I tease my husband about his flip phone, but truth be told he is a happy singing-in-the-kitchen-man with enthusiasm for hobbies, solid friendships and family connections. He's not interested in Facebook or Twitter. And, as it turns out, his low tech habits are directly connected to happiness. Yes, I mean happiness in general, not just his personal happiness.
Recently, a colleague directed me to the research of Jean Twange (pronounced twang-y) who has interviewed millions of people to discover what many of us may ask: "how does screen time impact our mental health and happiness?" The nutshell summary of Twange's research is that up to 1-1/2 hours a day of screen time does not seem to interfere with happiness. Once it creeps past two hours a day of streaming, gaming, texting, swiping and watching--
Twange's book "iGen-Why today's super connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood" outlines the risk of prioritizing screen connection over real time real life experience. Keep in mind that young children and babies need even MORE real face time.
As a psychotherapist, discovering research that breaks down the risks of screen time is a gift I plan to pass on in my therapy office as well as to you. Until now, I haven't been asking parents how much screen time they have each day, but frequently have parents tell me how much their relationships improve with their children when they reduce or take away their teenager's phone or reduce screen time for the younger children.
Think of this as a call to action as important as efforts to reduce heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other trends in health or mental health that interfere with us living lives rich in emotional experience, creativity and relationship. Connecting this to the importance of feelings -- or in my case the MyFeelings! toys -- we see the simple beauty of touching and talking and exploring toys that help us connect with our emotional experience in real time, with a real friend, teacher or parent. Fill your life with feeling this week, and notice the richness emotional and creative expression can bring.
P.S. I recently created some packages and kits for preschool teachers combining consultation and support with the purchase of MyFe3elings! toys and tools. I've attached the price list, brochure and description as well as a pdf newsletter article to share.