Solitude & Screen Time

Here’s an idea I’ve been toying with lately: more nature, less technology. I’m not totally down on technology. I really like my phone. However, an article in The New York Times, “Stop Googling, Let’s Talk”, got me thinking about how necessary adding in some tech-free nature time is for our teen girls. Some ideas to ponder about solitude from the article:

Silence is golden. Without quiet, how can we self-reflect? One the primary tasks of adolescence is answering the question, Who am I? The constant bombardment from the outside world telling our girls who they are or who they should be drowns out their inner voice. This voice knows who they really are and who are they are meant to become. We couldn’t agree more with the article, which states, “If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.” We want our girls to enjoy their own company. 🙂

Nature is calming. Being in nature encourages us to be in the present. Think about how we feel hiking, swinging in a hammock and lying in the grass watching the clouds go by. We are present with ourselves. Even if it is for just five minutes, it makes a huge difference!

Self-reflection is essential. Introspection allows us to better know ourselves. As the article points out, “The capacity for empathic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude”. We come to conversations having something to say that is authentically ours. We feel more secure in who we are. Our teen girls need time away from social media to discover their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, and tech-free time to talk to friends, IRL (in real life).

Our job is to encourage and gently remind our girls about the importance of stepping away from our devices and going outside. Since our teens often listen to our actions more than our words, practice being the role model in this area. Announce to your family that you are going for a five minute walk to self-reflect. Get ready for some funny looks. 🙂

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