Teenagers today have spent their entire adolescence in a world with smartphones, and the feeling of constantly being “plugged in” is having a significant impact on their overall happiness. While the internet and social media can be great resources for children and youth, it’s also critical that they have space to unplug and engage with others in a meaningful way.
An ongoing study by the University of Michigan found that the more hours a week that adolescents spend using screens, the less happy they are. Even more disturbing, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness among teens declined significantly after 2012, when smartphone ownership reached 50% in the United States.
We understand that in order to be happy and healthy, children and youth need to be a part of a community where supportive relationships are fostered, and where they have the opportunity to explore the world around them. At Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, kids spend time away from smartphones and computers every single day—playing together, learning together, and being mentored by caring adults.
On June 1, children and youth at our Clubs will be taking the time to Unplug to Connect. For one hour, they will spend time together, participating in a variety of activities that allow them to interact with their friends, and share the kind of experiences that can only happen when people put down their phones and make time for real connection.
You can find a full list of all of the events that Clubs will be hosting for Unplug to Connect here.