We are becoming a nation addicted to our cell phones.
When was the last time you left your house without your cell phone?
How long ago was it that you checked your notifications on Facebook?
Heck, you are probably reading my article on your phone right now.
I get it. As a conscious parenting writer and a social media manager and consultant I rely on my phone.
Our phone connects us to the world, our friends and family. What’s disconcerning is how cell phones are becoming the controlling factor in people lives much like an addiction.
Science has actually shown we receive a dopamine dump inside our brains making us feel good every time we are rewarded with a like or acknowledgment.
Did you know if you did a Google search about cell phone addiction, there’s over 11 million results? There’s even a list of addiction signs and symptoms listed on PsychGuides.Com. ↓↓↓
- Preoccupation with cell phone use
- Has put a relationship or job at risk due to excessive cell phone use.
- Withdrawal, when cell phone or network is unreachable.
- Health related problems.
- Neck problems. Also known as “text neck,” which refers to neck pain resulting from looking down at cell phone or tablet for too long. (This one cracked me up. I call it the double chin problem. 🙂
- Increased illnesses due to germs.
- 1 in 6 cell phones has fecal matter on it. (Ew, gross!)
Take a look around you next time you are out at a restaurant, notice how many people are looking at their phones. While walking down the street, how many people are looking at their phones instead of paying attention to their surroundings?
Next time you are at the park pay attention to how many parents are looking at their phones instead of watching their children play or playing with their children. I’m not saying we don’t need our phones but I definitely feel we need to get some control. In another five years I predict we’ll have AA for smart phone addiction. Heck, It’s probably offered already!
I challenge you to ask yourself….
Am I in charge of my phone or is it in charge of me?
7 Point Checklist
- Do you turn to your phone first thing in the morning?
- Are you distracted by your phone while driving? Who would have ever dreamed texting and driving would become one of the top reasons for auto fatalities! An accident can happen in a matter of seconds. Driving a vehicle is huge responsibility and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- Are you present when having in person conversations or are you staring at your phone?
- When its your turn to watch your child, are you paying attention to them? Or your phone? An accident can happen in a blink of an eye. When you are the primary adult in charge of the care of your child or another’s child, it’s your responsibility to be present. They are the top priority.
- When you go to bed at night. Do you sleep fully or do you periodically check your phone through out the night?
- Do you know someone or been involved in an emotional affair started through your electronic device? People tend to feel more secure hiding behind their phones. If you are caught up in an emotional affair and are struggling, reach out for help.
- Final question. Do you feel fully in control of your phone or electronic device of choice?
Believe it or not, I know how this entire conversation sounds like an episode from The Twilight Zone!
Here are some suggestions for taking back control.
- When in charge of your children, put your phone away. Only pull it out when they don’t require 100% of your attention. Declare certain times and places a no phone zone. This can apply to children who also have their own cell phones. Technology growth is only going to continue. You’d be doing them a great service by demonstrating and teaching them how to be the ones in control and not the other way around. Not to mention, childhood goes so fast. You don’t get that critical parenting time back. Enjoy it!
- Get the phone out of your bedroom while you sleep. Let it charge in another room so you aren’t constantly being woken up by notifications or the light coming on. Or completely turn off notifications. I know you are going to say it’s your alarm clock. A good old fashioned alarm clock works very well.
- When you are visiting a friend or family member stay as present as you can in your conversations. Check your phone at appropriate times and when its not intrusive to your time together. Ask them to be more mindful and to do the same.
- During family gatherings or dinner time, have everyone place their phones in a basket and have a no phone policy during dinner.
- Turn off the notifications on your phone. Check Facebook, Twitter, email, etc on your time, when you choose to. It will all be waiting for you.
What are your suggestions? How does this conversation make you feel?