National No Phones At Home Day is celebrated 21st January.
With 93%* of adults owning a smartphone it’s become an additional ‘unhealthy’ member of the family in many homes. This is the view of Psychologist and Psychotherapist Charlotte Armitage who believes that overuse of mobile phones and devices are damaging the mental health of our society and has led to the mental health expert launching a day dedicated to ditching the phone to encourage families to focus on connecting with each other.
Charlotte says: “Mobile phones cause a disconnection in our real life relationships which are essential for healthy psychological development and functioning. When phones are overly used in the household with young children it can have an impact on our relationships with our children, their relationship with us, emotional regulation and attachment, ultimately it can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.”
No Phones At Home Day will be celebrated on the third Saturday of January – with the inaugural event taking place on Saturday 21st January 2023. The aim of the day is to replace the scrolling and posting with alternative activities that encourage families to spend time together; to talk, connection, interact, think, feel, laugh and play.
Charlotte adds: “Mobile phones are known for impacting the mental health and attitudes of us all, this is especially dangerous for young people when the online world replaces their healthy foundation of in real life interactions and relationships.
There are so many things we could be doing instead of being on our phones, whether it’s talking, sitting in silence, baking, crafting, reading, playing games, going for a walk, upcycling – the list really is endless. But smart devices have become a toxic habit, a convenience and distraction we fall prey to all too often.
It is my aim to encourage every household to spend at least a day a week without phones at home and hopefully this day will be the instigator of that.”
Charlotte noticed firsthand the difference that removing phones and devices in her own home had on the relationship between herself and her daughter, instantly improving their relationship and the child’s behaviour when devices were removed, especially when focus was placed on doing tasks together. Through her professional work, and personal experiences, the single parent passionately believes we are now at a critical point in society when significant cultural change needs to be made in order to protect the mental wellbeing and development of the younger generations.
Charlotte adds: “If we don’t focus on the childhood environment and ensure that our children learn the basic skills of interpersonal relating as a by-product of their home environment, there are risks that our children will be impacted in adulthood.
For our happiness and survival, we need depth of relationships. We need to understand how to resolve conflict, how to tolerate differences, how to be respectful of one another, how to communicate face to face with other people. These skills which comprise the art of relationships are being lost as we become a society of individuals who are face down in their smartphones, favouring online interactions and mindless scrolling over communicating in person.”
For ideas on how to spend your phone free day and for further insight into the impact technology is having on our mental health and wellbeing, head to www.nophonesathome.com