Cornerstone Family Services > Resources > Blog > Uncategorized > How Our Phones Disconnect Us

How Our Phones Disconnect Us

Share Button

cracked broken phone disconnectFeeling disconnected from friends, family, and people in general? Feeling like your relationships skim the surface but never go deep?

Try turning off your phone and stowing it out of site.

MIT professor and researcher Sherry Turkle provides this insight from her book Reclaiming the Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age:

What phones do to in person conversation is a problem. Studies show that the mere presence of a phone on the table (even a phone turned off) changes what people talk about. If we think we might be interrupted, we keep conversations light, on topics of little controversy or consequence. And conversations with phones on the landscape block empathic connection. If two people are speaking and there is a phone on a nearby desk, each feels less connected to the other than when there is no phone present. Even a silent phone disconnects us.


So it is not surprising that in the past twenty years we have seen a 40 percent decline in the markers for empathy among college students, most of it within the past ten years. It is a trend that researchers link to the new presence of digital communications (p 21).

For more on the topic, listen to one of her podcasts on the book:

If you are feeling an interpersonal disconnect and would like to take steps to connecting in healthy ways, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.