Phones and screen time. These have been big topics in our household lately. And not quite for the reason you’d think. My husband and I are not worried about our son’s amount of usage (he’s only 11 months old). What we are worried about is OUR usage. From early morning wake up and grab the phone before we even say good morning to each other, to uttering good night while we both lie in bed staring at our phones… we are totally hooked, obsessed, and addicted to our phones. And it’s got to stop.
My parents divorced when I was 4 years old, and I lived predominantly with my mom. My dad lived far away, so we used a computer and webcam to talk. A webcam! It had terribly fuzzy picture quality and often cut in and out, but nonetheless, I thought this was so cool and advanced.
Technology has come a long way since then. My family lives in Canada; through our separation, and especially through this pandemic, we’ve been able to use far more advanced forms of video chatting to see each other in an instant. I am tremendously grateful for the advances in technology so my parents can see their 11-month-old grandson at the push of a button, rather than a dial up internet connection and fuzzy, slow picture. Technology can be good.
However… I’m finding as of late that technology has been consuming me. I am much more sensitive to my “free time” now that I have an 11-month-old baby. I am hyperaware of the time I have to get something done. And when I find that time is used for scrolling, reading nonsense, or just general rabbit hole adventures, I get annoyed. Furthermore, I am finding that socialization with my husband and with friends is always met with this little third wheel. The phone seems to make a regular appearance at our dinner table or when out with friends. Too many times we’ve been “that table.” You know, the one where everyone is staring at their phones and no one is conversing. Technology can be bad.
If you haven’t watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, do yourself a favor and WATCH. The information provided was fascinating and terrifying. I won’t spoil it for you, but basically Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Twitter, and any other app you use is controlling your life. Like really. More than you would ever know. Apps like these are literally programmed to get you to constantly pick up your phone and engage. It’s crazy! Technology can be ugly.
The Feather, The Rock, The Brick
Do you ever feel like something greater than yourself is trying to tell you something? Someone once put it to me like this. There are warning signs. These signs start very subtle, as if someone was rubbing your arm with a feather. If you ignore this sensation, the feeling will get stronger, like a small rock being thrown at you. And ultimately if you ignore the rock, a brick will come crashing down on your head. I feel like I’m in the rock phase of technology misuse and it’s time to stop this runaway train in its tracks.
In an effort to combat our phone usage, my husband and I have started a little bet. Every Sunday, we compare our average screen time for the week and the loser has to give the winner a massage. How’s that for motivation?