Today’s students are connected. This past holiday break, I was reminded just how much Gen Y (18-30 year olds) requires anytime access to the tools in their life.

I came to the realization that board games and cards may become a thing of the past.    If you don’t have a smartphone and/or tablet, you’re considered old school.  I do have one of the two so I’m only half old school.  Smartphones and technology have come a long way.  I still have a bunch of physical maps in my car from when I first moved to California.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I touched that stack of maps with built in navigation and point to point map applications in my phone that’ll take me where I need to go without having to plan the physical route myself beforehand.

I’ve also observed how smartphones and tablets have changed kids and young adults.  I’ve seen parents give their kids their phones to occupy them.  No more coloring books, reading books, or letting them play with other kids, just hand them a smartphone to keep them busy.  For young adults, if you’re friends with them or follow them via social media, they’re constantly updating and commenting on their day.  It definitely confirms the latest findings of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report that 60% of Gen Y (18-30 year olds) compulsively check their phones for texts, emails or updates.  What’s even more interesting, it’s also reported that 90% of the young adults surveyed said that checking their smartphones is #1 behind dressing, eating and brushing their teeth in the morning!

Just the other night, NBC News aired an episode called ‘Digital Detox’ on Dateline.  It interviewed four 20ish year olds roommates who were all plugged into smartphones 24-7.  They admitted to paying more attention to their phones than their roommates who was physically in the room.  On their first day, they struggled with driving without texting, sitting in traffic without the ability to text, physical side effects, like withdrawals and headaches.  After two weeks with no access, the four roommates realized how much their quality of life has improved by being able to sleep more, conversing with each other and how online ignorance forced to them think more.

On my last New Year’s resolution, losing weight, exercising more, sleeping more was on the top of my list.  I don’t think I’m that digital dependent but then again, I could be in total denial.  For this year’s resolution, I’m going to try a moderate my digital diet by starting with video conferencing with my family more versus sending them emails and text messages.  I still get to see them, engage and speak with them, on a mobile device!  It’s better than just liking their pictures or statuses on social media, right?

How do you feel about digital detox or digital diet?


Wendy Leung

Former Marketing Manager, Private Sector Industries

No Longer with Cisco