Am I Addicted to My Phone?

Are you familiar with the Holderness Family? They went viral back in 2013 with their Christmas Jammies video. I’ve been following Penn and Kim on social media for awhile now because I appreciate their tongue-in-cheek humor about parenting in the 21st century. They started a podcast last year that I check in with occasionally – I found myself listening to their latest episode last night while shuttling the kids to their respective ball fields. Titled Breaking Free from Social Media, the episode is about the impact screen time and social media has on not only our everyday lives but also our mental and physical health.

When the iPhone was released in 2007, I coveted it from afar. It wasn’t in our budget to upgrade our phones and my pink RAZR was pretty bangin’. But in 2011, Clay and I finally jumped into the iPhone pool and have yet to get out to dry off. I’ll be honest and admit that I find it absolutely intoxicating to literally have the world at my fingertips. I don’t leave the house without my phone and even when home, it isn’t very far from my side. I use it to watch Murder, She Wrote episodes on Hulu, I listen to music and podcasts, I use it as a camera, I check Facebook and Instagram multiple times a day, and Wikipedia and I are quite tight. It is the last thing I look at before falling asleep and the first thing I look at when I wake up. It is much more than just a phone – it is an extension of myself. And I think I want to change that.

Women strive to be the picture-perfect Pinterest mother that looks amazing, hosts the best birthday parties in town, posts the most “liked” photos, and serves delicious, nutritious home-cooked meals in her neat, organized home after ferrying the kids to school and a host of extracurricular activities on time.

Mommy Burnout by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler
Visit Dr.SherylZiegler.com

On the podcast, Penn and Kim had a discussion with Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, author of Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process. They talked about how social media is creating an environment in which women (and men) feel pressure to cultivate the ‘perfect’ life – both online and offline. One interesting topic that came up was that a lot of parents are like me and Clay. While we limit our kid’s screen time, we make very little effort to formally put limitations on ourselves. And I know that we can do a better job monitoring the amount of time we’re mindlessly scrolling through our phones. After all, what message are we sending to our children when we tell them to put their devices up while we’re still using ours to read a listicle on BuzzFeed and to check the latest news alert from CNN?

I do not believe that we can solve the problem by eliminating our smartphone use all together. There are too many benefits associated with my phone that I am not willing to give up. But there are steps I can take to help reduce the amount of ‘mindless‘ consumption I endure on a daily basis. Some examples include:

  • delete Facebook app (keep Instagram)
  • delete Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video (no longer watch TV on my phone)
  • remove the Gmail alerts
  • delete Buzzfeed (keep major news sources)
  • no longer charge my phone on my nightstand (leave downstairs at night)

I am going to take the next few days to really think about how I want to change my phone habits and devise a realistic technology plan for my family. What about you guys? What tips and tricks do you use to help keep your social media and technology use in check? Any advice welcome!