This phone of mine. This stupid smartphone of mine.
I got my smartphone about five years ago, and I embarrassingly do not know how I would ever go back to a regular cell phone. I rely on my smartphone for so much! It’s my alarm clock, my camera, my calendar, my map, my grocery list… But in the last five years, I have developed a reliance on my phone that just isn’t healthy. Having a smartphone means that I have news, friends, stores, coupons, and so many other things literally at my fingertips. When I pick up my phone, I never stare at it blankly and think, “What should I do with this?” I will always have something to do on my smartphone, which is why it’s so difficult for me to put it down.
Social Media is such an easy hole for me to get sucked into. I get home from work, and after the hustle of dinner and bedtime routines, I’m tired. I’m tired, but I still want a connection with someone. “So call a friend! Or talk to your husband.” Yes, those are good ideas, but when my girls go to sleep I turn into a sloth … AKA after 8 PM equals Amber’s lazy time. So, I use social media as my connection tool. I see pictures or quips of my friends’ days on Facebook and it gives me the feeling that I am a part of their lives. Once I don’t feel that connection anymore, I move on to another site. Reddit, my current news and funny picture site, complete with comments of random people, giving me the feeling that I’m listening in on a conversation of new found friends. Then Pinterest, then blog posts, then Goodreads. Oh, I just got a notification on Facebook, now back to Facebook.
Stop. Let me be as truthful as I can here. I don’t just get on my phone after my girls have gone to sleep. It’s when I wake up early in the morning before I get out of bed. It’s right when I get home from work. It’s after dinner. I tell myself that that I need to take a little time for myself, but I’m lying to myself. Guys. It’s a problem. It’s ridiculous, and it needs to stop. The easiest thing for me to do would be to switch back to a regular cellphone. I don’t want to. Not because I am too attached (though it could be argued that I am), but because I think I can beat this. I’m stronger than this stupid smartphone.
A couple of months ago, I downloaded a free app called OFFTIME . When I turn on OFFTIME, I am not allowed to check anything on my phone, unless I have approved it in advance. My phone will not go off for any notifications. I choose which apps I still want access to during OFFTIME, and if I try to click on an app that isn’t on the approved list I will get scoldings, which also blocks the app. OFFTIME also gives me a notification when I have used my phone for 180 minutes in a day. That regular notification is a huge smack in my face. It’s like it’s saying, “Hey, you just wasted three hours on this device.” Three hours. Ugh. That time could’ve been spent doing productive things with my husband and my girls, or productive things for myself! When I am on my phone for three hours, and all I have done is jump from social media site to news story to social media site, it’s not good for me, it’s not good for the people around me. I’ve decided this, and now I have to do something to change it.
A smartphone has so many great features, but there just comes a point when I know … I’ve been on this too much, and it’s not healthy. So, I am challenging myself to get off my phone and make connections this month. Closer connection with my girls, with my husband, and with friends. Mommying and Daddying has it’s hard moments, but keeping connection with friends and family can help us get through those difficult times. Human connection, not phone connection. Human connections take work, but I think that they’re worth it. If you have issues with your cellphone time, I encourage you to join me! Equip OFFTIME or a related app, or practice leaving your phone out of reach and/or out of site. Let’s do this.