The world is on your phone. We get it. Your homework, your friends, that weirdest-filter-ever-that-you-cannot-stop-playing-with…we understand. And we are just as guilty. Your Spanish teacher checks his phone obsessively during breaks. Your coach’s phone might be permanently attached to her ear. And your parents email during dinner. All. During. Dinner. But maybe you — the middle school girl with her finger on the pulse of every trend — can set the example.


After all, you are the true professionals here. You can text while your phone is actually IN your pocket –we’ve seen you do it. So you know what? Leave it there. Just for a few minutes. Try an hour. Graduate to a whole meal. The adults around you are literally walking into walls — yeah, it happened once and it’s enough with the judging — because they can’t put down their phones. It’s time to enlighten them. Like it or not, you are the age demographic that marketers use to determine what’s “in” each season. Maybe the hot new thing will be…um, eye contact.

Teach us how to unplug.

Truth be told, we only got plugged in because of you. We joined Facebook to keep tabs on our kids and see our friends’ families more often…and now you’re not even there. We made Instagram accounts because you said it was cool…now we can’t find you in the filters. Your tweets are lightning fast, your snaps disappear, adults are losing focus and our phones are exploding (for real)…and we did this all for you. So you have to help us. See what we did there.

Seriously, rescue us.

We can’t stay uber-engaged on all fronts like this, and frankly neither can you. You know how much better you feel on the lacrosse field or out on the ice. You recognize the sheer bliss of diving through ocean waves or singing your lungs out on stage. You know what’s nowhere to be found when you feel like that? Rhymes with drone.

We know there is undeniable joy in connecting to others. Bringing you into the world taught us that above all else. But there is equal joy to be found in pursuing your passions and seeing just how high you can leap untethered. So pocket the phone. Things that are fundamentally gratifying take focus. Measured breath.

And generally, both hands outstretched for balance.

Illana Raia is a lawyer, lecturer and founder of — new resources for world-changing girls

Originally published at


  • Illana Raia

    Founder & CEO


    Recently named one of the first 250 entrepreneurs on the Forbes Next 1000 List, Illana Raia is the founder and CEO of Être - a mentorship platform for girls. Believing that mentors matter as early as middle school, Illana brings girls directly into companies they select to meet female leaders face to face. The goal, as Être's French name suggests, is to help today's girls figure out who they want to be.    Named a Mogul Influencer in 2017, Illana appeared in the HuffPost "Talk To Me" video series, participated in the 2018 Balance Project Interviews and the 2019 #WomenWhoRock campaign, and has been featured on Cheddar TV and podcasts like The Other 50%, Her Money, Finding Brave and Women To Watch. Illana has authored 50+ articles for Thrive Global, HuffPost and Ms. Magazine, and her award-winning book Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be was released on Day of the Girl 2019. Her next book, The Epic Mentor Guide, is scheduled to arrive on International Women's Day 2022.   Prior to launching Être in 2016, Illana was a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps in NYC and an occasional guest lecturer at Columbia University. She graduated from Smith College and the University of Chicago Law School, and remains unapologetically nerdy.