I have been avoiding writing this for some time. I finally reached the point where I need to come clean in hopes of changing the direction of this behavior. I know I am not alone in this struggle but this isn’t about other people, this is about me.
“My name is Steve and I am addicted to my smartphone.”
It’s hard to remember life before my iPhone. I am old enough to remember life before smart phones, Facebook, Wi-Fi, cable television, home computers, or even having the Internet.
In theory, having a smartphone could make life easier, and it does for some things, but to certain people, a smartphone becomes the elephant in the room that people don’t want to address.
A device that has made connection to people outside of my home easier has had the opposite effect on the people inside of my home.
A friend of mine said this about his smartphone addiction:
“Phones are like cigarettes. I don’t need it but I’m afraid to live without it.”
I am not blaming the phone though. Just like a gun, the tool is not the problem. The person using it is the problem.
I have tried to address this problem before unsuccessfully but I am trying again.
Before I announce my solutions, I first need to display some of my observations about having this device:
I am a worse husband and father because of my phone!
Let me start by throwing out there the fact my phone has become an extension of my hand. I have said the words “Hold on!” to my family more times than I care to admit. What am I doing on this electronic device that is so important that I am telling my wife and kids to hold on?!?!
It pains me to think how many stories have I missed my kids telling me because I was looking something up. How many “moments” have I missed because my face was buried in my phone? Am I teaching my kids that having a phone in your hand is just a normal part of parenting?
I use the camera on my phone a lot. That’s fine but not to the point of documenting every little thing at the expense of just letting life happen.
How many evenings have been ruined because of something I saw on Facebook or have gotten a text from someone?
There is no reason for cell phones when you are in bed with your spouse.
I say this out loud because I am guilty as charged with this. We use my phone as an alarm clock so I justify having it in the bedroom with us. That does not mean that I am on it all night instead of being with my wife but I can’t say that I don’t check Facebook, email, or whatever before actually going to bed.
Some couples are laying in bed in silence while on their phones. This is not good for their marriage no matter how much couples justify it. I have talked to several people about this topic and they all say that phones in the bedroom will end badly.
I am setting a bad example for my kids.
Kids can’t communicate with each other anymore unless it’s through text or another social app. I see my teenager on his phone and then think that I am doing the same thing. Except I am not a teenager!
We can’t have even a few seconds of down time unless we have a screen in front of us.
Are we checking Facebook at a stoplight? I know that I see people on their phones all the time. People still put their phone to their ear even with a state law against it.
So here’s how I am going to try again:
When I am home and am having family time, I will not keep my phone in my pocket. Having the phone on the counter and not in my hand should reduce my quick checking of something on it or playing a game.
I need to think about why I am picking my phone up. Is it because I am bored or disinterested in what is going on? Do I really need to use it?
Schedule my time for social media so it doesn’t distract from family. Not all pictures need to be uploaded to Facebook or Tweeted the second they are taken. I need to be setting a time of day to do that instead of having my nose in my phone and start giving my kids that attention.
I am going to use my wife’s phone for the alarm clock at night and leave mine on the charger downstairs. My wife is great at not looking at her phone like I do.
So I am going to try these simple steps to start out with and see how it goes. Any prayers you want to send my way are always appreciated.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
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