My husband texted me the other day asking if I’d consider doing the 30 day break up with your phone challenge from his book with him. And for the first time that he’s asked me to do something like this, I didn’t take it personally- it was actually something that I had been thinking about. And so, I just said that I was interested in learning more about it. When I got home, he handed me the book “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price. Upon reading the introduction, I knew that breaking up with my phone was something that I needed to do.
During the introduction of the book, the author leads you through the Smartphone Compulsion Test developed by Dr. David Greenfield which basically shows that any person with a smartphone could probably be diagnosed with a psychiatric addiction worthy of meeting with a therapist. How scary (but probably true!) is that? She also touches on the effects that smartphones have on our brains, mental health, relationships, attention spans, and so much more. I had kind of known many of these things before reading it, but having them all listed in the same place was quite eye-opening.
A couple weeks ago, I lost my phone from 10am until that night when my husband got home and could call it for me. I kept trying to look for it, but to no avail. And the way that my youngest likes to hide things, it could really have been anywhere. At first, I felt so anxious- what if something happened to my husband and he needed me? What if I needed to contact someone myself? How was I going to take pictures of the cute things my kids were doing? What if one of the people I followed on Instagram posted something really interesting and I *gasp* missed it? I say this slightly facetiously, but I actually thought these things. And I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way when their phone is lost. It’s kind of silly when you sit down to really think about it.
I read an article recently comparing parents’ phone addictions to secondhand smoke and felt so convicted. Instead of having the physical effects that secondhand smoke has, our smartphone use may have social and developmental effects on our children. And just like society had a hard time kicking smoking to the side, we’re going to have a hard time kicking phone addiction to the side too. What’s so sad is that our children are not getting the eye contact, communication, and emotional support necessary to help them learn and develop important social skills because we’re too sucked into our phones (Read this article too!). Plus, how can I expect my children to not watch their screens when their mom is so obviously on her screen?
And it’s not only affecting my children, but my own life as well. The New Year brought its onslaught of resolutions into my life. I’ve begun to do yoga more regularly. I’m trying to really incorporate more book reading in my life. I want to be much better about having a daily prayer time. There are so many things to be done around the house. I’d like to call my people more, invite our friends over, and go out to see them. And maybe I’d even like to pick up a hobby, get a little crafty? Start baking more? Get really into organizing? But who has time for all of these things? Me, probably, if I wouldn’t waste all of my free time on my phone.
And finally, if my word for the year is truly going to be “Quiet,” it seems that God is calling me to truly dig a little deeper and find more opportunities for that quiet. Breaking up with my phone seems to be one of those opportunities. Our phones give us such a source of disquiet every time we look at them. I feel the pull of more more more every time I go into it. I’ve got to check my email, my Instagram, my Facebook, maybe I’ll pop over to Pinterest, oh, what’s the weather going to be this week, that’s an interesting notification from CNN, I should get that thing from Amazon. And on and on it goes.
And not all of it is bad. I do need the mental break to just veg sometimes. Plus, I really do learn so much from the articles, Instagram captions, and blog posts that I read. I feel more connected to my loved ones when I see the pictures that they share. I love receiving the Blessed Is She devotionals, theSkimm news updates, and so much more to my inbox daily. These things are good, and I find joy and learn from so much of them. But at the same time, I’ll really be okay if I miss something. So it’s time to start being intentional and break up with my phone.
So, my husband and I are starting in on author Catherine Price’s method to break up with our phones. We’re currently on Day Two and my favorite thing about it so far is that she’s not calling us to completely quit our phones, but instead to use them as a tool rather than letting them use us. I’m excited to see how we get there. In the meantime, this break up might mean that I write less, or it might even mean that I write more. Who knows?! But it should be a journey. And it’s a much needed journey for both my husband and I. I’m excited to share how breaking up with my phone truly goes with all of you in thirty days.