We live in a day that a post with this title is completely necessary, and although that is sad to me, I’ve been a part of the problem myself.
I’ve been on both ends- sitting with a friend who is checking her phone while I’m awkwardly waiting for her to put it down and engage in conversation with me, and being the one who realizes it’s been a minute since I checked my phone and trying to fight the urge while being in the middle of real life.
Either way, the addiction to technology in today’s society makes me kind of wish I was born in a different era. I recently realized I was completely addicted to my iPhone. I kept not noticing my kids talking to me, standing in one spot of the house scrolling through social media apps, and anxiously awaiting the next time I could grab my phone and check how many Instagram alerts I had.
Something needed to change.
This is my one and only life! This is my only shot at raising these kids God entrusted to me. Every day matters and has the potential to become a memory permanently imprinted on the minds of my littles. Do I really want those memories to include me staring down at my phone?
I knew I was going to have to face the facts and be hard on myself, to bring purpose to this area of my life, so I set some ground rules.
When you’re struggling with something, when something has become an idol in your life, you are commanded by God to put it in its place. This isn’t some silly issue that is okay because everyone struggles with it. You are called to be holy, set apart, and so am I.
Here are some rules to help break the cycle of checking your phone all the time that have helped me forget about it and get on with real life.
Assign your phone to one location.
I think one of the main reasons our smart phones are so addicting is because they take what used to be stationary (the internet on a computer) and make it mobile, accessible anywhere and everywhere, with the touch of a button. That’s tempting for sure! But just because technology offers us so much doesn’t mean we have to take it. I chose the little chest of drawers in my entryway, because it’s out of the main rooms I spend my days in (kitchen and living room) but near enough that I can hear it if Brian is calling. I do allow myself to bring my phone with me to my bedroom when I nurse the baby to sleep, which means I’ve got about twenty minutes to browse Instagram and respond to text messages several times a day. That’s when I’m on my phone, otherwise, it’s pretty much just sitting in the entryway.
Delete the Facebook app from your smart phone.
Almost any time I checked my text messages or used my phone to call someone, I’d see the little blue Facebook icon I would always click on it without even thinking! Why do we really need the Facebook app on our phones? Do we really need to be able to see what our high school girlfriend is doing for lunch at a moment’s notice? No. Facebook is one thing that can be browsed during downtime on the computer, or on your phone’s browser. No need for an app to give us constant easy access.
Turn off all notifications.
I have turned off all the notifications on my phone except for calls and texts. Having the screen light up with app notifications is only distracting and harmful to the purpose of my days. Plus, when I do take a minute to check my phone, all I see are missed texts and calls, and I can get back to people who matter most without the distraction of a distant relative’s comment on my photo. If someone isn’t important enough in your life to have your phone number, they shouldn’t be able to get a hold of you any time via social media alerts on your phone. Wasted time.
Choose carefully who you spend time responding to.
I feel like one of the biggest problems with texting, as helpful as it can be, is that everyone feels like they can get a hold of you at any time, and they expect you to respond, quickly! I have four kids, so it seems to me people would get it when I don’t respond for several hours, but I have received a few texts saying things like “hello?! Are you ignoring me? Are you getting my texts??”
Seriously? Who are you to feel entitled to my time? I’m supposed to drop everything and answer your text message at a speed that seems reasonable to you? I am in the middle of raising world-shapers and managing a home!
It can wait, and it will wait.
I don’t want this to sound unkind, but I feel we should be very choosy with who we respond to with texting. Think about it… if someone that isn’t in your immediate relationship circle (your family, your husband, your closest friend) is sending you text messages, and you respond right away, you just gave them your time. You took time away from your family, your kids, your job, whatever it is you do all day, and you gave it to them. You also set a precedent, letting them know they can text you anytime and get a response. This same principle goes for the topic you’re texting about. Choose wisely how you spend your time!
Maybe this sounds ridiculous to you, and if so I’d say that’s a good thing because maybe you don’t have a smart phone addiction! Maybe you don’t have a smart phone but you’re on the computer all the time? Most of us have been addicted to technology in one way or another, and do have a problem and need crazy rules to put the phones down, keep them down, and live life. Set some rules and be strict with yourself. Don’t let something as meaningless as Facebook rob you of precious time.