Reduce Screen Time – Part II: The Phone

technologyUuuugggghhh, the phone. Is there anything more wonderful and horrifically annoying at the same time. We can SnapChat, Facebook, Email, Instagram, FaceTime, Skype, Text, Tweet and actually dial the phone to connect with our friends. There’s Pinterest, Kindle, Audible, Pandora, Reddit and many others for entertainment. And of course, there’s pictures, videos, and baby related applications that need to be updated on a frequent basis. It’s no wonder these little computers are constantly stuck to our hands.

I hate having the phone in my hand. Ill be out at lunch with a great friend who I love and eventually I have to use the bathroom. The bathroom visit takes soooo long because while I put my phone away while I am with my friend, I scroll through updates, emails, calls, texts, ect when I am on the pot. People are going to start worrying about my bowels.

When it comes to the impact on our kiddos – how bad is it? Science Daily has posted the results of a rodent based study where mothers were “interrupted” several times a day during care. This was a stand-in for our phone calls, texts and typical interruptions we encounter when holding our phones all day long. While rodents are not people, the results indicate that “fragmented baby care can impact brain development” and even cause emotional disorders later in life. Another article from the Telegraph even goes as far as calling it “benign neglect” when a parent is addicted to the telephone. Yikes! There’s enough crap to deal with in life without an emotional disorder.

Is it an addiction? For me – yes. For you? Here is one of many tests to find out. When I put the thing down, I have an natural reaction to pick it back up and mindlessly fiddle with it instead of relaxing. Another clue -I LOVED my last vacation to Thailand where we had to turn off all of our mobile devices to complete our adventure. I felt free, meaning that I feel trapped all of the other times. Double yikes.

So what can we do? This HuffingtonPost article has a great list of ideas. For me -it starts with putting the phone away when I am caring for my daughter. It is sad, but sometimes I feed her and mindlessly browse everything on my phone while I am holding her instead of just enjoying being with her. I have found that it distracts her from eating too – she loves to look at the screen.

Here is what I am committing to:

For the next 10 days, I will:

  1. Wake up to an alarm that is not my phone.
  2. Check phone stuff and perform phone activities while my daughter is asleep or with my husband.
  3. Put my phone away during the day when my daughter should be my sole focus.
  4. Put the phone in silent mode so I dont hear all of the audible alerts that usually send me running.
  5. Tell my friends and family that I will only be checking my phone during specific times so they aren’t weirded-out by my change in response patterns.

On January 25th, I will post my results and next steps for improvement. If anyone has been through this and has any tips – please send them my way!

Here’s to removing these distractions so we can focus on creative projects!




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