The same Pew study from August 2018 also found that teens feel incredibly anxious when they’re separated from their phones. More than half (56 percent) associated the absence of their phones — and, one assumes, the ties to social media — with at least one of three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious.
Like any source of anxiety, though, the way to address it is head on. “If you expose people to what they fear, repeatedly, then they know they can survive it,” says Swanson.
One way to do just that is regular digital detoxes. It can be a monthly event, where the whole family logs off on a Friday and doesn’t check social accounts or devices the whole weekend. “Then Monday, we’ll see if we like life any better,” says Swanson.
On a smaller scale, parents and children alike can take small bursts of time without checking for status updates. “Go to the store without your phone,” says Swanson, who follows her own advice. “I make myself do that, and then I ask, 'How does it feel when I’m not checking text messages between aisle one and aisle two?'”
Another, easy-to-manage tip is to find one hour (or more) each day to put the phone in airplane mode.