|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 (http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/11/30/the-best-and-worst-of-mobile-connectivity):
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Note: This piece first appeared on the website www.thegeekparent.com.