Rose Report: Issue 12

Staying Connected – To Unplug or Not to Unplug?

issue12-pic-story4Summer has officially begun, and for millions of Americans, that means it’s time to get away for a few days of rest and relaxation. But alongside sunglasses, sandals, and beach blankets, many will also pack smart phones, iPads, laptops, or all three. In fact, a recent study published in the Annals of Tourism Research found that people actually used wireless internet 15 percent more often while on vacation than at home.

In today’s world of staying in constant contact, truly “unplugging” is becoming a nearly impossible feat. But there’s room for debate over whether that’s a good or bad thing, or maybe a bit of both.

It’s true, our technology-heavy lifestyles are often stressful. That feeling that you should hop out of the pool or sit out the next round of volleyball to check e-mails can certainly be a downer. According to HealthDay News, British researchers have found a possible link between smart phone use and rising stress levels. And anecdotal evidence shows the need to stay connected can even put a strain on relationships with spouses, kids, and other vacation companions.

It’s common knowledge that stress can wreak havoc on a person’s mental and physical well-being, so there’s also the argument that shutting off electronic devices every once in a while is a necessary part of staying healthy. But for lots of people, ignoring e-mails or phone calls while on vacation may only lead to more stress upon returning to the “real world.” Indeed, a significant benefit of technology is that we no longer have to play a week’s worth of catch-up when we’re back at the office.

Also, think about it from the perspective of the colleagues who are at work. If the coworker on vacation can take some time each day to quickly check in or answer a couple emails, it eases the burden on them.

Striking the right balance is different for everyone. But whether you pack the iPad or not, we hope you enjoy some fun this summer!