Is your smart phone or tablet ruling your life? How joined at the hip are you? Go on be honest. Well they have made quite a big impression on my life and our family life as I am sure they have yours. And they definitely contribute toward a day with too much in it and a body/mind in overload. Here’s us….
My days are interspersed with regularly checking the news, emails and Facebook. There ain’t much change in the news or on Facebook in 10 minutes I can tell you. And our nightly TV session is now accompanied by our trusted tablet or iPhone — writing texts/emails, surfing the net, reading the news, using Facebook/Gumtree/Candy Crush/LinkedIn — alongside requests from the kids to watch their latest dance move or rate one of their jokes.
Our attention is far too absorbed in our phone and we dart back and forth with the requirements of the kids and what’s on TV. Er what? Say that again? Can you be quiet I’m busy? Don’t talk to me whilst I’m writing a text it’s rude (how good is that one?!).
Sound familiar? I feel somehow ashamed admitting it. Our parenting skills are being compromised by a smart phone.
I do not use Twitter or Instagram for personal use but Facebook gets a fair degree of use. There’s something about vicariously keeping in touch with my social circle without actually engaging with them that I love. Sorry to all my Facebook contacts, I confess, I am a stalker. But I think perhaps you are too?! It saves me in phone calls but its use detracts big time from being present at home.
Our phones have become an extension of ourselves and we lean towards them at pretty much every opportunity. So what do they represent to us? Yes social connection in some way. God help those of you with a multitude of social media sites, I’m a pushover with one. Pure addiction is another.
We use them for so many things, we can’t sit still without them. Oh hell what do I do without my phone? I’m lost. What do I do with my hands? It’s become the new hand accessory. Another thing to juggle, alongside writing, drinking, eating, or, as I saw the other day, an afternoon run (which for the afflicted young woman was more like a slow jog as she talked for her country). Seriously people we are wearing ourselves out!
How do we regain some control? How can I change what has become a habit? How do I get more present with the kids and my husband and myself? How can I ditch the phone at home?
Well these are the things I’ve tried. Firstly, as mentioned, I limit the number of social media sites I join. I know I get massively distracted with Facebook and everything else going on in my life, I would just become a figment of my family’s imagination if I had to deal with more!
I’ve also tried recharging my phone in my office from 7pm to distance myself (effectively I closed the door on it). It worked for a while but I became twitchy when seeing my husband doing his nightly Candy Crush and Gumtree assault. Obviously my disposition was weak, so back it came.
Setting my texts to quiet hours so I don’t feel compelled to reply to anyone after 7pm and my senders get a polite message saying I may not respond immediately. I still use this one, it works as a deterrent but generally only when it’s not in my lap!
The best one that works for me is, wait for it, phone on silent!! If I’m working and at my desk I see it flashing but otherwise messages go to voicemail and I call people back when I’m able. This one drives my husband to distraction, especially when he’s tried umpteen times to contact me when I’m out, phone swishing about in my handbag never to be answered in a million years. It has, however, led to a more quiet work style for me — which is good for someone with an adrenaline/noise intolerance problem. Ah the sound of silence.
Anyway, tonight I’ve decided to resurrect giving the phone the evening boot. Writing this post has left me feeling a bit weak. I’m clearly not practicing what I am trying to preach. Oh well er actually that probably makes me just like everyone else reading this post.
It’s going back on charge in the office. Banished from the bedroom.
Good riddance phone, see you in the morning.
Maybe I can do some yogi headstands instead…or, maybe not…
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Originally published at medium.com