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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

The Value of Technology Breaks

May 02, 2021 02:15PM ● By Jared Zornitzer

During lunch in high school, it often felt as if I were one of the only people fully present. Most other students were captivated by their phones and whatever memes, snapchats or social media posts were trending that day. I support technological development which helps us in our daily lives, but I am saddened by its impact on America’s youth. The burgeoning digital world creates barriers to human interaction and has adverse health effects on people who spend too much time on their devices. We need to cut down on our screen time to promote our overall well-being and return to the present moment. 

It was difficult for me to connect with peers in high school who were absorbed by their phones. One stark contrast between myself and others was that I did not use Snapchat; an app which many other students constantly used. The social media-oriented culture pushed memes and other superficial topics to the forefront of discourse. Often, I felt that I could not find someone to have a genuine conversation with about other topics, such as life.

I used to fault myself for being out of touch with my friends, but now I appreciate my differences. In a society that markets countless new technologies, I have unfalteringly stayed true to myself and have continued to find fulfillment by engaging in face-to-face interactions. The capacity to relate to others personally will help me in the workplace and in building strong relationships as I set off from home and begin living independently. 

The opportunity to improve our interpersonal skills is one alternative to being on our phones; another is enjoying the outdoors. Although advanced technologies have been part of my entire life, I am nostalgic about the days before personal devices. From stories told by my parents, I envision neighborhood friends spending afternoons outside, exploring local parks and streams until dinner time. This seems like the ideal upbringing; kids decompressed and got exercise at ease. 

Today, our generation does not spend nearly enough time away from technology. Experts attribute higher levels of stress, depression, more frequent headaches, and elevated rates of obesity to excessive screen time. Taking short breaks from school or work to step outside allows our bodies to relax by breathing in the fresh air, and our eyes to rest from the blue light of our screens. Furthermore, these health issues could be reduced if we encourage children to spend more time outside, which is better for their physical and mental health.

Sitting at the lunch table in the school cafeteria, I was glad that I was not sucked into the world of my phone like many others. When we detach ourselves from technology, even momentarily, we can live in a state of tranquility and harmony with our surroundings and be more in tune to the present moment. 


Jared Zornitzer is a full-time college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY studying engineering. An advocate of balancing work and school with exercise and healthy living, he loves hiking, biking, running, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and learning in his classes. 




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