This post written by me first appeared on The Parenting Files.
So what did you think? It’s amazing how a short little video clip on the ‘simple’ mobile phone can conjure up so many emotions.
I have to openly admit that my phone has definitely become an extension of the right arm and I found this clip a little uncomfortable to watch. I’m not entirely sure why though? Is it guilt? Have I become anti-social? Do my kids use my phone/device too much? Is it affecting my relationships? Am I addicted to it? Or is the amount of time we all spend on our phones these days just NORMAL??
I decided to monitor everything I used my phone for, and how much time I spent on it. The results was a real eye opener.
There was the obvious use for checking text messages, actual phone calls and emails. These are what I would consider basic communication and I guess what mobile phones were originally designed for. I didn’t do too badly on this one and only really used these basic features as and when I needed them.
Another feature I seemed to use ALOT was the camera. I love taking photos, and I LOVE the fact that I can take them at pretty much any given moment, as my iPhone is always with me. However, with my ‘phone behaviour’ under scrutiny I realised that my kids didn’t always want to have their picture taken. I used to find this so frustrating as I thought I was ‘missing moments’ by not catching them on camera. It got me thinking that maybe I was missing these moments anyway as I was always seeing them though a lens, as apposed to actually seeing them! I realised that not all the moments I have captured on camera I actually go back and look at. They’re all stored away on a hard drive somewhere. I have now made a real point to only take photos of the kids if they are happy for me to do so – or if they’re totally unaware of my camera and I’m not interrupting their play for a photograph.
So the question is, are we living ‘through our lens’ these days or actually living the moment? When did it become more important to capture a moment rather than live it?
My biggest downfall with having a mobile device has to be social media. It is like being stuck in a quick sand and not being able to get out. I didn’t realise quite how addicted I was to checking my social media accounts until I was physically counting how many times a day I did it. I found myself checking Facebook, and then twitter, then Pinterest, then instagram and then going right back to Facebook again. It was like being stuck in a never-ending circle. I found myself clicking all the icons without even realising I was doing it, and often at inappropriate times just like the that video clip showed.
As a blogger I need to use social media in order both promote my work as well as keep up to date with my industry. I also find that living on the other side of the world from my family means I need it to keep update with my friends and loved ones too. However, since watching writing this article I have become so much more aware of when and how much I use it. I have made a pledge not to use my phone for any form of social media between the hours of 3pm and 7pm everyday so that I can desiccated that time to my kids. Even after just one week, I have noticed a marked improvement in the communication between us. They seem to ‘play up’ so much less when they have my complete attention.
I still don’t think I could live without my phone, as there are just too many benefits to having it, not to mention how many fantastic education games there are for kids these days too (in moderation of course). However I have learned to manage how much I use it.
Are you addicted to your mobile phone or device? Is it affecting your relationships or your children?
I challenge you to make a note of when and how you use it and evaluate if you could do something different.
How much time do you spend on your smart phone?