This Gen Z phone habit creates boundaries

Although Gen Z typically has a phone in hand, it doesn’t mean they’re accessible.

Gen Z has created many trends, including some that carry a warning label. One trend, however, might be a good thing, and experts say we should jump onboard.

With social media at our fingertips, work notifications, group chats and the plethora of emails piling up can quickly turn your cellphone from a place of solace to one of distress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, be like Gen Z and use the “do not disturb” function.

“I could see Gen Z using DND as a tool to set boundaries,” Lauren Larkin, a psychotherapist and founder of Lel Therapy, told HuffPost. “It helps create a sense of control over relationships that aren’t serving them, either by being less accessible or having less access themselves to what others are doing.”

TikTok trends using the hashtags #DND and #DND24/7 have accumulated millions of views, with users sharing videos about the benefits of choosing peace and productivity over chaos and accessibility.

Some use the function to study for exams, others use it to be less accessible, while many videos highlight the benefits of DND in helping with anxiety.

“I went on DND all day on most days last year,” Chinedu Kenechukwu, a 24-year-old from Lagos, Nigeria, told HuffPost. “I tend to be anxious sometimes, and incoming calls on my phone tend to increase that anxiety so I’d go on DND usually just to protect my peace.”

Alex Hibble, a psychology researcher at Oxford, on the Study Exam podcast told Yahoo!Life: “When we try to switch tasks, there’s a huge attentional cost. If I pick up my phone and text someone back, I don’t immediately switch back into work. There is a cost, there’s a time it’s going to take to get that level of focus and attention back.”

Although it’s common for Gen Z to use this function, it’s proved difficult for millennials and older generations. Emily Cooper, a therapist in Seattle, said she thinks it has to do with Gen X needing to be home during certain moments to catch a phone call, which was common much of the lives.

“For that generation, it was almost like a delicacy,” she told HuffPost. “You had to be home at the right time, able to afford long distance, whereas for me, it’s always been available so I don’t really value it as much.”

Cooper’s thoughts might ring true to some who have an issue with using the popular option. If you’re still not sure, here are a few benefits to consider.

Taking advantage of DND can help you live in the moment, regain focus on certain tasks, create your own schedule, set boundaries, prioritize mental health, and tame anxiety and triggers.