How many times have you sat in a room full of people, but felt alone because everyone in the room is staring at a screen? This is the dark side of our virtual world.
I don’t know anyone who does not have a smartphone. Once upon a time, having a cell phone was a privilege only few had. Now we treat cell phones as a necessity. We are addicted to this technology that frequently rips our attention from reality. I carry my phone around with me everywhere like its a third arm. I’ve been to parties or out for dinner with friends and everyone either has a phone in hand or at the very least it’s sitting on the table in front of them. When the screen lights up, everyone around the table notices and it diverts everyone’s attention. My teenager will be snapping 16 people at a time while she has a friend over. I’ve been at concerts where the artist has to beg the audience to put their phones away for just one song and live in the moment together. Everywhere I go I see children, teens, and adults staring at screens!
What about this moment in time? Why have we allowed such a huge distraction in as a social norm? The time spent scrolling Facebook or Instagram could be time invested in ourselves or our families. Carrying our phones on us at all times is like an invitation to be distracted. You hear that notification sound and feel the need to read and reply.
Parents are allowing children to have cell phones. WTF? Why do children need cell phones? What ever happened to “Yes Mom, I will call you when I get to Jenny’s house?” We wonder why more children have attention disorders and lack of social skills these days. The exposure to social media at an early age when children and teens are still mentally developing is a real problem. The thing is we know the truth – kids should not have access to phones and social media, and the amount of screen time the average child consumes per day is growing each year.
Adults are also being tormented by the overuse of a screens, too. We are exposed to an insane amount of entertainment for one brain to handle! So imagine why anxiety and depression is on the rise. People do not know how to interact without a screen anymore. There are even pizza places with lockers so you don’t even have to talk to someone when you come to pick up your pizza. We are losing the ability to cope when things get tough, and forgetting how to be REAL people. We don’t even know how to be bored or relax completely without distraction.
We are missing out on moments we can never get back. Time is passing and we only get one life. What’s going to mean the most to us as we are laying on our death bed? The amount of likes and shares we got on a post or the time spent and memories made with our loved ones?
I have made my choice. I choose real experiences with genuine people. Here is how I am going decrease my social media and overall phone usage.
- Check out your current weekly screen time.
On iPhone and iPad, you can do this by going into your Settings. Check out this page if you have an Android device. Sometimes this can be eye opening enough to make you want to scale back a little.
- Set time limits for each app you use on your phone.
- Delete unnecessary social media.
I recently decided Snapchat had no place in my life other than being a huge waste of time.
- Only read and respond to texts during certain hours.
8-4 might work, that way evenings are dedicated to family. If someone really needs you they can call!
- Put your phone out of sight.
It doesn’t have to be on you or in front of you at all times. Be in the moment with your children and your partner.
- Limit notifications.
Do we really need to be notified every time someone comments on a photo? Trim down to the notifications that are necessary.
- Schedule unplugged time.
This can also be done with your family. What a great example you are setting! Pick up a book and read or simply enjoy the peace.
- Set a time aside everyday to play.
This can be with or without children. Pick up and instrument, write a poem, tell some jokes. Just have fun.
Let’s bring back a world we want to live in, where we enjoy the company of others, and have real meaningful experiences. Put down your phone and do something!