Oh no! Where’s my phone?! I just had it…Where is it?!
Have you ever felt or said those words? In just a few short years since the invention of the iPhone in 2007 and the first Android phone in 2008, we have become so attached to this piece of technology, that it has changed the world as we knew it.
Who of us really could’ve imagined the impact these tiny computers would have on our lives? It’s become an indispensable part of our wardrobe; underwear, socks, cell phone. Everywhere you look, people’s faces are lit up by the glow of their phone screen. People are more distracted by technology now than ever before. And we all feel like it’s something we could never do without. And we don’t want to live without it.
How do you feel about your smartphone? Is there ever a time when you don’t know where your phone is? Can you imagine going a day, a month, or longer without your phone?
A Disturbing Trend
A couple of weeks ago, I went out to dinner with some friends. As I looked around the restaurant, I enjoyed seeing several families there together. But then, I saw something else. As I scanned the restaurant, there was a very obvious trend. People are together, but they’re not interacting. Almost every family I saw had something in common. When I looked at one table, every person sitting there had their phone out. At another table, the parents talked, while the children were occupied by devices. A couple sat across from each other, but each was engrossed in their phone instead of talking with each other. In another corner, a table of friends, and almost every one of them with phone in hand.
Sound Like You?
Does that describe you? And your family? Your friends? Have you found the communication with your friends, or within your family suffering? Have your devices taken over? Tech companies keep coming up with more inventions to distract us and keep us busy with devices, thereby taking our time and attention from the more important things in our lives. Devices serve a very useful purpose. Devices bring families and friends together from all over the world. But what about those who are right here with us?
What Can You Do About It?
Do you want to spend more time conversing rather than surfing, scrolling, and posting? Here are a few tips to help you and your family cut down or device time, and improve to some quality time. This is obviously not an exhaustive list. But these are some things I noticed in my own life and have tried to work on. I think these few simple tips can help you too.
So here we go:
1) Schedule some device/technology-free time- When was the last time you turned off the phone? When was the last time you sat on the couch and just talked with your husband, wife, or children? Turn off the phone, leave it in a drawer, and spend time communicating, for real. This kind of time cannot be underestimated.
2) Don’t take your phone/tablet to the bathroom- I’m sure there are some of you saying, “Gross, I don’t take my phone to the bathroom.” But there are many more of you that do. How often do you find yourself in the bathroom, reading, and scrolling on your phone? Do you ever find that you’re in there twice as long as you need to be, just because you got distracted by your device? I have. I started leaving my phone outside of the bathroom a lot more often, and it has really cut down my bathroom time. That can also contribute to more time spent doing quality things, things that are more important.
3) Don’t take your phone to bed- I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Many nights I wind down by scrolling through headlines, reading emails, checking out social media while laying in bed. And when I look to my right, my wife is doing the same thing. But there are benefits to not taking your phone to bed. Studies have shown that the blue light from phone screens can delay or interrupt good sleep patterns. Again, it also interrupts quality time that you could be spending with your significant other. So, put your phone down. Leave it in another room. Spend time conversing, cuddling, or anything else that you can do together. It will be more satisfying and beneficial to your life than anything on a device screen.
4) Don’t take your phone to the dinner table- As I mentioned earlier, when you go to a restaurant, look around and see how many people are on their devices. Do you ever have dinner as a family? Seems like a rare occurrence these days. So if and when you have dinner as a family, leave the phones behind. Talk about your day. Ask questions. About work, school, problems, and concerns. Spend time as a family. It is well worth it. Quality time spent with family whether you’re talking, laughing, or even crying; that time can’t be replaced or duplicated by devices. At the dinner table, eat dinner. Try it without the distraction of devices and you won’t be disappointed.
These are just a few ways that we can limit our addiction to our devices. At this point in time, we know they’re not going away. We know that technology will continue to advance, and will continue to improve our lives in many ways. But there are some areas of life, really important areas of life, that technology can hurt. When we decide to cut down on the use of technology at home, especially when we’re spending time with family and friends, we will see the benefits. It’s something quite simple. There are so many things in our lives that we can’t control. So many issues facing the world that we just have to cope with. But this is one small way we can improve our own lives.
A Breakdown of Benefits
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I truly believe technology is awesome, and we enjoy the benefits every day. There are so many uses and advantages to having this tiny computer in our hands and in our pockets. We just have to be better about being balanced in the usage of all of our technology.
Want your life to be better? Want the quality of your life to be better? Want your family life, and your friendships to be better? I think it’s safe to say that you will never look back at your past and think, “Boy, I wish I had spent more time with my phone.” Or, “I wish I could have been a better husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, friend, etc… to my phone”.
Here is a simple tip: Set limits. Control your technology. Control your devices and monitor your children’s use of devices. Don’t let technology or addiction to technology and devices control you or dictate your life. Make the time you spend with your family and friends really count.