Who Is Your First And Last Interaction Of The Day With?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at Trinity Grammar School. I spoke to the Year 9 boys during the day, and then the parents of the boys that evening.

One of the things that I like to do at the end of my presentations is to give the audience a “Two Week Challenge.” The focus of the challenge is always about helping the audience become their happier and healthier selves. The feedback I receive from the students I work with is incredible – they find these challenges really valuable. It’s so great to see that young men are looking for ways to improve themselves and their lives.

Over the past few months, I’ve been giving the boys a challenge around device usage.

I call this the face-to-face challenge.

I’ve been encouraging them to remove their phone from their room during sleeping hours. During the parent’s webinar for Trinity Grammar School in the evening, I thought I’d give the parents the same challenge.

So many students, and parents too for that matter, go to bed with the last interaction of their day being with their device.

Then, when they wake up in the morning, their first interaction of the day also tends to be with their device.

For adults, it often looks like lying in bed next to their partner. They love this person, they appreciate this person, but their first and last moments are not spent connecting with them. Instead, these moments are filled with staring at a screen; emails, social media, and news.

For teens, it can, unfortunately, look like lying in bed, being drawn into body comparison, pornography and gossip. So much pressure in the online space!

We often find that with young people who are experiencing online bullying, their daily habits of device usage can play a huge role here. Their experience is not only a small part of their day but these damaging and negative words can be bookending their entire life experience.

If we are honest, we have built, normalised, accepted and incorporated the experience of our first and our last moments being framed from a digital perspective, rather than a real-world one.

The challenge, therefore, is this: To work towards rebuilding lives where we start our day and end our day with people, connection, love and intimacy as opposed to filling these key moments with a digital world that is not always concerned with our wellbeing.

My message to parents is this: Our kids are in desperate need of a shift in this space.

Don’t leave them alone to figure this out…

They need you.

I was so encouraged to hear back from one of the parents who attended our parent’s webinar last week. They shared with me about the hour-long, face-to-face conversation they had with their child that day on this very topic. This parent had the opportunity to encourage their child around a fresh start, and also had the opportunity to begin afresh themselves. I don’t know this parent personally, but I do know this: If they can follow through on this decision, they will be forever changed.

Who’s up for the face-to-face challenge?

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