Lindenwood psychology professors weigh in on National Day of Unplugging


Photo by Alexis Montgomery

March 6, 2020 begins the National Day of Unplugging, where people are encouraged to unplug devices for 24 hours.

Alexis Montgomery, Culture Editor

March 6, 2020 begins National Day of Unplugging, a 24 hour time period where individuals across the globe are encouraged to disconnect from digital devices in a society where people are constantly on their phones. 

The day was created by Reboot, a non-profit Jewish organization, to promote unplugging from devices and having a day to relax and reflect. Over 112,000 people have joined the movement so far. However, being away from a digital device doesn’t relax everyone. It can even stress people out, with how connected some people are to technology. 

Rebecca Foushee, a Lindenwood psychology professor, said that most research is showing that the constant connection people have with their phones is more of a bad thing than a good thing.

“There was a study a few years ago right after smart phones came out where we took students’ phones in a laboratory and we arranged it to call their phone while they were doing a study and measure their heart rate, and it turns out students were distressed when they couldn’t answer their phone,” Foushee said.

Foushee also said that when individuals receive alerts on a phone, it releases a rush of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical that is associated with addiction. 

Having an addiction to cellular devices is not currently listed as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

While many may struggle with withdrawals due to not having their phone for 24 hours, Marilyn Patterson, a Lindenwood psychology professor, believes the message behind National Day of Unplugging is a good one. 

“I think the idea of spreading this message [unplugging from technology for a day] is a good thing,” Patterson said.

You can take the pledge to unplug at the National Day of Unplugging website. When you sign up, you’ll receive a free resource kit with ideas for activities and conversations. The unplugging begins at sundown, and will last until sundown the next day.