A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how if we wanted out children to grow up with healthy digital habits in light of our nations’ growing phone addiction struggle – then we needed to start by putting our phones away.
The post went viral
Now I’m guessing the reason it went viral is because so many of you related to it. I wasn’t writing it from a high and mighty place. I was writing it from a place of personal struggle. I too have been trapped in a spell by my phone previously. I too had been distracted by it time and time again, letting it disrupt my family life and connection. And I too had loathed myself for it.
And it turned out it wasn’t just me. DIY Daddy wrote a post abouthow he was ashamed with himself for his excessive phone usage. Then Dad’s Delicious Dinners, TheDadsnet and Fathers Quarterly Mag all joined in with their agreement.
Comments flooded in from parents who had been struggling to untangle themselves from their phones.
Something has to change
Phone addiction seems like a harsh and scary term
But the truth is….for many of us, it fits the bill.
I am the first to throw my hands up and admit that I need to self-impose phone restrictions on myself. After school, it gets put in the kitchen drawer. The mere act of doing this makes me realise just how much of an addictive pull it is.
But it’s also enough to create disruption in my thought processes and make me wonder why I am tempted to reach for it in the first place. Most of the time I realise it’s mindless, and that’s enough to stop me reaching for my phone.
I am not saying this is something I have nailed
It’s something I have to work on every single damn day. After all – phones are designed to be addictive. As is practically everything on them with their never ending barrage of notifications across emails, apps and social media (a good start in not letting your phones dictate your life is to turn these off).
I was amazed to see that last week my phone usage was only three and a half hours over a whole week. I practically jumped up on my kitchen table and did a happy jig there and then. Do you know why?
Because it meant that it was only potentially three and a half hours of my family life it could have potentially encroached on that week. Probably less as it’s likely that a fair bit of that had happened during my working hours.
Do you know what the best thing about putting your phone away is?
It enables a deeper connection with your children, partner and loves ones. You don’t feel irritable and distracted – when you’re being interrupted for looking at your phone when you shouldn’t be. And therefore neither do you feel phone guilt. Yes I’ve decided that phone guilt is real and can be found next down on the list from mum guilt! It’s a horrible feeling and it leaves you with a dirty feeling of self loathing.
So overall, I’ve discovered that putting my phone away is not only great for my family, but also great for my own well-being. I’m a more present person. I’m a more present parent. And I’m an overall better human being for it. I get to experience life as it happens, rather than missing out on it because of what’s on my screen.
And do you know what?
It feels absolutely amazing
Sure I have times when I fall off the phone wagon. But all I need to do is remember the kitchen drawer and reset. The other day I had to take my phone in for repair and didn’t have it the whole weekend.
I felt free as a bird.
I think that says it all don’t you?
So if you feel like you’re a slave to your phone, won’t you come and join our #PutYourPhonesAway movement? It takes a little bit of willpower, but all the good vibes once you do are all there for the taking. Who’s in?
Parental phone addiction – let’s have you! Putting our phones away make us the best digital role models your children could possibly wish for.