June 21

Set down your tech, look up and embrace the here and now

With the summer holidays approaching, it is a time to think about recharging and reconnecting after a year focused on academic studies. As the weather picks up and the sun has been shining (mostly) over London, it made me think about the opportunities being missed by teenagers and adults alike who are part of the ‘look downers’, the people who spend their time looking down at their phone. 

In today's digital age, it is easy to get consumed by the virtual world offered by our mobile phones. These devices have become an integral part of our lives, connecting us to information, entertainment, and other people. However, in the pursuit of constant connection, we often forget to disconnect and engage with the real world around us. I want to explore five areas that highlight the importance of putting down your mobile phone and looking up, embracing the beauty and opportunities that exist beyond the digital realm.   


1. Rediscovering the Present Moment: 

One of the most significant benefits of putting down your mobile phone and looking up is the ability to rediscover the present moment. By disconnecting from the digital distractions, we can fully immerse ourselves in the surroundings, appreciating the small details that often go unnoticed. From vibrant sunsets to the subtle beauty of nature, the real world offers a multitude of awe-inspiring moments that can enrich our lives.   

2. Deepening Connections: 

While mobile phones enable us to connect with people around the globe, they can also hinder our relationships with those physically present. Constantly checking our devices during conversations or social gatherings can create a disconnect and diminish the quality of our interactions. By putting down our phones and looking up, we show respect, attentiveness, and genuine interest in those we interact with. Deepening connections with others and fostering meaningful relationships become easier when we prioritise real-life engagement. 

3. Cultivating Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware of one's thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Our mobile phones often act as a barrier to this state of mindfulness, pulling us into a never-ending cycle of notifications and distractions. By intentionally putting down our phones and looking up, we create space for introspection, self-reflection, and a deeper understanding of ourselves. Cultivating mindfulness allows us to find inner peace, reduce stress, and enhance our overall well-being. 

4. Unleashing Creativity: 

Creativity thrives when we engage with the real world and draw inspiration from our surroundings. While mobile phones offer endless sources of entertainment and information, they can also stifle our creativity by limiting our exposure to new experiences and diverse perspectives. By disconnecting from our devices and looking up, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and stimulate our imagination. Observing the world with curiosity and wonder can spark new ideas, fuel artistic expression, and enhance problem-solving skills. 

5. Striking a Balance: 

It is important to acknowledge that mobile phones are not inherently bad; they are valuable tools that enhance our lives in numerous ways. However, striking a healthy balance between digital engagement and real-world experiences is crucial for our well-being. By consciously setting aside time to put down our phones and look up, we create space for personal growth, meaningful connections, and a greater appreciation of the world around us. 

There are many focus apps to keep you off your phone and help create this balance. One of my favourite apps is SPACE. Space is an app to help break phone addiction by allowing you to set goals for phone usage. It also allows you to share your results with friends and family so you can form healthy habits around your phones, together. 


My challenge to you, both adults and teenagers, is to set yourselves time, as a family, where you are all off your mobile phones together and embracing the real world and all it has to offer. My holiday pledge is to spend two hours a day with my phone down, my head looking up and appreciating the world around me. Who is willing to join me? 

Written by Mr Alaru, Senior School Deputy Head (Staff & Students)

Also In the News