Are You Addicted To Your Phone? Maybe Its Time To Break Up…
Breaking up with my phone… Do you need to do it too?
Like most people I am in a very committed relationship with my phone. I’d only been seeing this phone for almost a year, but I had a feeling it was going to last. I was in love. We’ve all been there. You know the feeling.
Then one day he left me, jumping straight into oblivion…or the hard bitumen surface of the carpark. Shocked, I instantly stole my husband’s phone and began googling repair shops. Being the intelligent woman that I am, I chose a place that would order a screen in advance so that all I had to do was show up and get it switched over. This was all good in theory, however, when they took the screen off (and it disintegrated into 1 million glass shards) and tried to put the new one on, they realised they had ordered the wrong one. It was Friday afternoon – the earliest I could get my phone back was the following Tuesday.
A Whole Weekend Without My Phone?
Initially, I was devastated. Four days without my phone was surely going to be an eternity. No social media, no useless What’s App conversations and no scrolling endlessly on Instagram. But then it occurred to me that this could be a great opportunity for a digital detox.
Recently a lot of people have been talking about digital detox. Switching off from their phones/devices and simply being more present. The topic had been coming up again and again in my life, then it was forced upon me and I must say, it wasn’t so bad.
We all know that kids learn by watching us. We can say anything we want, but it is our actions that speak louder than words. While we think sending the odd text or checking social media isn’t that bad, we are only giving kids our partial attention. And we are showing them that the phone is important enough to take our attention away from them. They can learn think our phone is more important than them.
This breaks my heart. To think that my child believes my phone is more important than them is horrible.
What’s worse is that if this goes on for too long, our kids could simply shut down and stop communicating with us at all.
A report released by the government late last year showed that an overwhelming number of children feel ignored when parents are using their phone (or another device).
Another study found that behavioural problems occurred in children whose parents were addicted to their phones. These problems included sulking, tantrums and hyper activity. Conversations between parents and children were also reduced when a phone was being used and the behaviour of children often escalated to gain the attention of the parent after being ignored.
My Tiny Human is two and has recently entered the phase of tantrums, pushing boundaries and demanding my absolute attention. Often these tantrums are a result of the phone – she wants it and I won’t give it to her.
Why does she want it? Probably because she sees me on it. If I spend so much time on it, it must be good, right? Having four days phone free really made me see how much time I was spending on it. And what for? What was really so important that I couldn’t spend that time playing or reading with my daughter?
With all this in mind, I am trying a few new techniques in our household to break up with my phone:
No phones at meal times. This is family time and is a really easy time to put your phone away and actually have a face-to-face conversation.
No phones in the bedroom. I found that I was checking my phone in bed before I got up in the morning, and this was affecting my mood for the day. Instead, I want to start my day off without the stress of emails and texts.
Phones are not part of a conversation. If we are talking, phones shouldn’t be in sight. Even when they are face down on the table, the urge to ‘just check’ a text or ‘quickly google something’ is there, breaking the flow of a conversation. Having a physical distance from my phone can help me to break this pattern.
This is my plan to digitally detox. Have you found something that works for your family? I’d love to hear about it.
How do you minimise your phone usage around your kids/friends/family or just in general?