To encourage college students on campus to form and strengthen their interpersonal relationships, the Center for Healthy Relationships launched the Look Up! Campaign for the second time this year. In a connected world where people spend hours staring at a screen, calling, emailing, texting, posting pictures on social media, reading books, playing games, buying online and others activities, there is little room for face-to-face interactions, resulting in social isolation. The Center for Healthy Relationships launched the Look Up! Campaign for the first time last spring 2018, and hope to make this initiative an ongoing activity throughout the semester.
In this opportunity, the CHR tied the Look Up! Campaign with the Relationships Week that they do every October. Coordinator of Relationship Education, Derek Gwinn, said, “One of the problems is that people are spending more time looking at their phones and less time looking at the people around them. Particularly in families, there is an increasing experience where everyone is sitting around the table, eating together, but not interacting because they are staring at their devices.”
The Center for Healthy Relationships organized activities such as a Look Up! bingo and placed conversation starters around campus with the intention to open spaces that promote the interactions with friends and strangers. I
n addition, the students at JBU had the opportunity to hear from Chris Grace from Biola University. During chapel, he encouraged the students on campus to be connected with the people around them and to be an intentional friend. According to a Baylor University study on cell phone use, published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, college students spend almost eight to ten hours a day on their cell phones.
Gwinn highlights some of the negative effects that come from social isolation. He said that there is a tendency for people to compare themselves with others on social media. “One of the challenges with the negative psychological impact in comparing ourselves with others is that what people post on social media is their best self,” Gwinn said. “They show the good hair days and not the bad hair days, they show you the bright sunny weather and not the stormy clouds. So, what you are comparing yourself to has been filtered for public consumption.”
“We are not against technology. We are not against social media. A lot of people keep in touch with their families and friends from their youth through Twitter or Instagram, and all that is good in maintaining their relationships,” Gwinn said. “But not if it is an expense of social interactions with the people who are actually around you.”