I love my phone. I love Facebook. I love taking pictures. I love IMDB. I love checking my e-mail. I love playing games. I love pinning on Pinterest. I love texting.
I love all of these things (and many more) on my phone but I’m also ashamed of my addiction to my phone so I continue to make tiny efforts to wean myself away from my phone and I’ve found the one thing that really makes me aware of my own behaviors is seeing other people’s behaviors.
When I’m out in public and take the time to look up from my phone these are some of the things I might see:
A. A fantastic event going on around me
B. Everyone looking at me because they’ve said something but I’ve been scrolling through Facebook reading about friends who aren’t right in front of me
C. Everyone else staring at their phones
Unfortunately “C” happens way too often in both public and private settings.
I have already mentioned how much I love my family, all of them…..yes, even though they sometimes drive me crazy in the way only family can I love them all, which is why in the same way loved ones gather together with the best intentions for drug or alcohol intervention I think I have a family member who needs a technology intervention. I’m sure we all know people in our lives, or maybe we’re the person ( 😉 ) who needs an intervention from their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or all of the above plus more.
As I mentioned in Monday’s post I resisted taking pictures of every little thing that happened along the way.
Maybe it’s because I remember times when we didn’t have cell phones attached to our hands but I hate looking down a table and seeing everyone with their phones out. I do wish I would have taken more people pictures but I don’t regret not having pictures of dinner or breakfast. I don’t regret not tagging myself and everyone I was with at every location but I have a family member who enjoys doing this everywhere.
This is not to say I am not guilty of this behavior but the more I see it the more I don’t want to do it.
If we have a free minute we have our phones out, which I think is doing more harm than good. We don’t have casual conversations with people or simply enjoy being still for a minute, instead we begin to crave constant entertainment. Standing in line, waiting in an office, waiting for a movie to start, at restaurants, at home, everywhere, whether it’s a 1 minute wait in a grocery store line or a 15 minute intermission our phones are out.
I go to the theater often and I turn off my phone because one of my biggest fears is hearing my cell phone ring during a live performance (Yikes! Happened to my mom once, super awkward I pretended like I didn’t know her 😛 ). There’s a 15 minute intermission for most shows but I choose to not turn my phone on during this time but many people do, checking Facebook, playing games, etc. I can be disconnected for 15 minutes so I choose to visit with the person I’m with or look at my program and sometimes strike up conversations with the people around us but it’s become more challenging in recent years because everyone is on their phones.
We’re losing the ability to connect with other people in person while trying to make sure everyone in our digital world knows what we’re doing at every moment.
I don’t think everyone needs to know where I am all the time or what I’m doing so one step in my efforts is trying to have the moment, maybe take some pictures but hold off on social media until the next day or the next week or don’t post about it at all (I’ve heard people do that). I waited a day to post a pic of my cousin and I on Facebook because I didn’t need any “likes” to validate how much fun we were having in the moment. I have struggled with this before (which is a bit scary to say out loud) where I’ve posted something then kept checking to see how many people and who specifically liked the post.
Social media begins to feel like a competition with everyone working to post something clever, show the funniest or most heart wrenching video, share pictures of cute babies, show off the awesome adventures we go on, share pictures of the amazing food we eat or make, etc. This is not to say I don’t love looking at and even posting some of these things (I can’t help it if my cat is adorable and sometimes I make delicious food) but it becomes dangerous when we find validation in the number of “likes” or comments we receive or when we’re so obsessed with our digital status we ignore the people right in front of us.
As I stated in the beginning of this post I love my phone and the many apps I use on my phone but I’m just trying to make sure I’m in control of my phone and my phone is not in control of me. I think transitioning myself toward a more active lifestyle is helping me curb my cell phone addiction, also as I make efforts to spend time with people I want to actually be present with them not mindlessly scrolling through my phone.
I want to sometimes cut the invisible cord that connects me to everyone all the time and simply enjoy being in the moment because lately I’ve been looking up more and things are pretty great 🙂