Monday, June 2, 2014

7 Reasons Why You Need To Turn Off (Or At Least Relocate) Your Cellphone

Remember when THESE were our 'mobile' phones?  

I've got a monkey on my back. So do you. It's called the cellphone and we're possessed by it. We check it in stores, at work, on the blacktop, and, unfortunately, while we're in the car. It is our new “be all, end all” device that we emphatically CANNOT live without. In fact, according to Pew Research's Internet Project (

  • 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. Some 18% of cell owners say that they do this “frequently.”
  • 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.
  • 11% of cell owners say that they themselves sometimes worry that they are spending too much time with their phone.
  • 7% of cell owners say that their phone makes it “a lot” harder to focus on a single task without being distracted give people their undivided attention.
While experts are still divided on the issue of whether “cell phone addiction” should be an actual diagnosis, I think most of us would agree that we're lost without our devices, as evidenced by the panic we all feel when we've misplaced or lost them. Our entire lives are contained within these little hand-held devices. And it's obsessive. So here are 7 reasons you need to periodically turn off your cellphone:
  1. There have been numerous scientific studies that point out that our brains simply can't multitask, even though as parents, we feel we have to. Turning off your cellphone, or at least putting it away, makes it easier to focus on our kids and the task at hand. 

  2. You'll be modeling better behavior. We're always telling our kids to unplug, yet so many of us constantly check our screens. Let's stop being hypocrites and start being better role models.

  3. You'll sleep better. People tell me all the time that they're woken up during the night by the buzzing of their cellphones which they keep next to their beds. It happens in my house since my husband keeps the Blackberry he uses for work on his bureau. If you can't turn it off during the night, at least relocate it away from your bed and turn the “vibrate” setting off. This way you can hear the ringer in case of emergency, but won't see the light.

  4. You'll be forced to think on your own and become more resourceful. Having the world at our fingertips is a good and bad thing. Sure, we can instantly look things up, but do we really need to? Re-discover your own creativity by figuring things out on your own instead of pressing a button or two to look things up.

  5. You'll be forced to navigate and problem-solve on your own. Having a GPS handy all the time dims our sense of direction, allowing the computer to set our routes for us instead of us figuring it out on own own (does anyone use a real paper map anymore?). Re-discover your sense of direction or develop one by turning off the GPS and relocating your cellphone to your glove compartment or back seat.

  6. You can focus on where you are instead of living in Cyberspace. My family took a hike yesterday (actually, my husband forced us to) and it showed me the value of living in the moment and appreciating where I was. Because there was no reception out in the woods, my son and I were forced to look around and saw waterfalls, wildflowers, and an incredible blue sky instead of staring at our screens as we often do.

  7. You'll be breaking your own addiction to your device. Honestly, when the people you love most in the world are actually, physically with you, do you really need to have your cellphone on?
Hey, I'm old enough to remember a time before mobile devices, when I had to think on my own and could actually be alone, without being connected to the outside world. Sometimes it's good to reconnect with ourselves and our environment. And I think, at times, it's good to release that simian and get that darned monkey off my back!

Note:  This piece first appeared on the website

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