STEM Media

How Connected Are We?

You pick up your cell phone filled with exciting anticipation. What will you discover this time? After the fun of scrolling through your feedand posting an update, logging out can be difficult.

You think, “What will I do if I’m not on my phone?” Everything feels empty or mundane. All that’s left is to get back to the responsibilities of real life. It can feel depressing.

The reliance on technology to help us plug into our social and professional lives is taking its toll on our natural desire to connect with others daily authentically. Humans need to spend time with each other, to talk about the struggles in our lives and laugh about how ridiculous it all can be.

Spending hours on social media doesn’t mean you are actually connected to the real world. In fact, there’s a good chance all that internet surfing is making you feel isolated and lonely.

In her book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” Sherry Turkle discovers, after hundreds of interviews, we are hurting our chances for rich friendships by looking for them online. Turkle’s book states, “Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends, and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication. But this constant connection leads to a deep solitude.”

All of the ways we must stay on top of technology, whether it’s checking hundreds of emails to responding to text messages from friends, can make us overwhelmed and stressed out. We don’t want to let our friends, co-workers, and family down. Perhaps, we need a break…

Take time off from technology
Choose a day of the week to turn off your cell phone and not go online the entire day. Let people know the days you are “Screen Free” so they will not feel slighted if they don’t hear back. If a whole day is too long, try a half. You will get more important projects done with that focused work time.

We tend to give more attention to people we are not with (online) compared to people we are actually with at the time. Decide not to check your phone while spending time with good friends or with your children. For example, no cell phones at the dinner table.

Look the people you are with, in the eyes, and focus on being fully present in the moment. Turn off alerts from emails and social media sites so you won’t feel tempted to take your phone out multiple times.

Understand that time spent alone is good
Now that we can be a part of an online community on our phones at any moment, it can be a challenge to just be with ourselves. Spending time alone is a great way to recharge. Read a book, listen to music, meditate or just sit and think about all the ways life has blessed you.

Teach children that doing an activity on their own has value and it’s essential to get to know yourself. We don’t need to log on to something at all times to feel fulfilled.

Don’t let technology rule your day. Choosing to be in control of social media and spending social time with real human beings creates the most fulfilling connections- of actual value- in our lives.

This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Khalid Birdsong. His bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!

Khalid Birdsong is a freelance writer, cartoonist and teaching artist. He loves enjoying a good story in books or on film and traveling the world to explore new lands and cultures with his family.  You can learn more about Khalid’s writing and comics at and

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