In recent years a trend has developed where people expect each other to respond immediately to texts or calls. We imagine that anyone can be reached anywhere at anytime. In fact it has become such a global problem that at the start of this year France has added a new provision in the labor law which does not ban work-related emails, but does require that companies with more than 50 employees create a new technology protocol to ensure that work does not interfere with personal/family time. What a concept!

Here at lilspace, we’ve been thinking about what we want out of human connection. While we love technology and how it enables us to stay connected to community, we’ve also struggled with finding the balance between staying connected and “responsibly disconnecting”-which simply means letting people know when we’ll be back in touch. We often feel TIED to our cell phones, which doesn’t allow us to stay present and focused on what is right in front of us. Our mission is simple: to explore and support how we relate in the 3rd millennium. This exploration provides an opportunity for all of us to develop new etiquette around technology and dive deep into understanding what we really want from human connection.

Because our bosses…our co-workers…our children…our friends expect an immediate reply, we develop an anxious impulse to continually check our phones. Scientists call this circular behavior getting caught in a “compulsion loop”. Literally we are stuck between our phones and the hard place of changing our destructive behavior that is being chemically rewarded by our brains.

“It can be hard to put our phones down because they tend to deliver bursts of dopamine — a neurotransmitter that affects our emotions, movement, and sensations of pleasure and pain.”


Now that we understand the impulse behind our behavior we can begin to make changes. Recognizing the problem is always the first step. The next step is to build a community that will support us in making a change. Yes, there is a chemical reason that you keep checking your phone. We know that getting out of the compulsion loop isn’t easy. Almost always, challenges present opportunities. We have a great opportunity to develop new etiquette around cell phone use and like Ghandi said, “BE the change we wish to see in the world.” (He said something like that)

At lilspace, we are working to BE that change we wish to see. Join the conversation so it will deepen and our community will grow.

Originally published at


  • Kim Anenberg Cavallo

    Executive Director, Founder

    Unplug Collaborative, Lilspace

    Kim first became aware of the downside of mobile technology when she found herself in the bathroom of a yoga studio in 2015 reading her emails instead of participating in the class. In between anxious impulses to check her phone, she built a digital wellness company, lilspace, and the Unplug for a Cause® Timer app that was launched in 2018. Since then, Kim and her team have worked with educators in bringing unplugging challenges to schools and other youth communities across the United States. Before turning her focus to the intersection of digital wellness and social impact, Kim spent 25 years raising money and connecting people to non-profit causes and creating educational, arts and culture programs in and around Los Angeles. Kim recently took on the role of Executive Director of Unplug Collaborative, home of National Day of Unplugging where she is part of a team distributing free resources to organizers who want their communities to get healthier with technology. When Kim puts away her phone, she loves to spend time with her husband + 2 adult sons, doing yoga and traveling.