Guest Post: Cell Phone Sabbatical

By Luke Roland

I love my iPhone!  One thing my wife and I have grown concerned about it is the effect of cell phones and other devices on families.  I have noticed in my own life an unhealthy dependency with my cell phone.  My wife has to remind me as we spend time with our kids to put the iPhone down!  I thought I was the only one, but look around and you will see most of us can’t live very long without these devices.  We need a sabbatical at times from social media and the phone.

I love social media just like a lot of us, but these things can come between us and precious moments with our families.  As I was walking out of a restaurant the other day I couldn’t help but notice most of the people at tables were all looking at a screen not talking to the person in front of them.  We recently went to a pool as a family and I couldn’t believe how many parents were looking at their phones while their kids were swimming.

How can you form a relationship with someone if you are tied down to a phone?  How you can properly parent when you are tied down to a phone?  How can you spend time with your spouse if you are tied down to a phone?

What is the first thing you do in the morning?  If you are honest I bet you check your phone.  I do!  Why do I do this?  Will there be an email or text that came through in the middle of the night that will change my morning routine?  Possibly, but what did we do before this?

Another question, how long can you go without your phone?  I borderline freak out if I’m not sure where my phone is.  I also get real nervous if the battery is about to die.  I remedy this by always having a charger with me.

Does anyone else think this is strange?  A grown man carrying around a phone charger!

What could you be seeing if you were not looking at your phone?  Your kids playing, the spouse you were so attracted to, nature, the road you’re driving on.  A study done by Time Magazine showed most people could not go a day without their phone, 1 in 4 people check their phone every 30 minutes, and 1 in 5 every 10 minutes.  Three quarters of 25-29 year olds sleep beside their phone (including me) like it was a stuffed animal.

Here are a few things we can do to help with our dependency:

Put It In Another Room

When you are at home with your family it may be helpful to distance yourself from your phone by putting it away.  Maybe you have specific times where you go check it to make sure nothing urgent has come up.

Unplug While on Vacation

The last vacation my family and I took this was really hard to do. The emails just kept coming in.  The lesson I learned is when people are at the office and you’re not, they will keep emailing you.  The great thing about phones today is you can change the notification settings.

A Social Media Fast

I’ve done this a few times and it is rather interesting.  I’ve taken social media fasts for up to 3 days.  The best thing to do is to delete the app from your phone so you are not tempted.  Having a fast was very eye opening because I didn’t realize how much time I was actually spending checking social media on my phone.

I have to keep reminding myself that time is precious and something I can’t get back.  I don’t want my family to look back thinking that daddy spent more time on his phone than I did with them.  Are you with me?

LukeLuke categorizes himself as a big dreamer!  He lives in NYC with his wife and two kids.  He blogs at lukeroland.com where he seeks to inspire people to leave the familiar and pursue the dreams that are in their hearts.  You can follow him on Twitter:  @lukeroland.

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