There’s a popular saying that’s been going around for several years now: “What you despise in others, you despise in yourself” (and numerous variations thereof). I can vouch for the validity of this quote because I HATE seeing someone playing on their cell phone. It bugs the fire out of me! For years, all I had was a flip phone. I refused to get a smart phone because I didn’t want to turn into “one of them”.
And So It Begins…
Then, when my daughter started a homeschool co-op in 2015, the staff was using the Hangout app to communicate. Since I was the only one without the app, I missed a lot of the communication and it began to be a problem.
So, reluctantly, I got an iPhone 4- which was released five years prior… Now, I had an iPad Mini before, but it didn’t have a data plan, so it only worked on Wi-Fi. An iPhone which worked anywhere and everywhere was a game changer- and I was immediately hooked (as I had feared).
Fast-forward 4 years to the present. I now have an iPhone SE (still three years behind the times, but I love how small it is), and I love it. Too much. Then, a little utility app came out called “Screen Time”. My goodness, it might as well be called “Guilt Time” or “Conviction Time”.
But I have always tried to view conviction as a good thing because it means there is something not right that I need to change. So, this morning, out of nowhere really, I decided to not use my phone unless absolutely necessary. That would be: answering a call, text, or email; bible reading; other short tasks such as taking a picture or looking up something online really quick. My goal for the day was to keep my total screen time under 60 minutes including my bible reading (I like the app that reads it).
Oh, and NO SOCIAL MEDIA with the exception of Messenger. I am only on Facebook and Instagram unless you count Pinterest, which I don’t because I rarely go on there anymore except to pin my latest blog post. To make it less tempting, I turned off my notifications. You can also delete or offload the app but turning off the notifications works well for me.
What I learned
- Checking your phone is a habit. No surprise there. Sitting at a red light? Check your phone. Waiting for the pasta to boil? Check your phone. Kids driving you up the wall? Hide in the bathroom and check your phone. I was most surprised when we were sitting in the parking lot and my kids were fighting in the backseat over what to eat for dinner. I had the urge to check my phone. Why? To escape from the reality of the situation. To disengage and let them fight it out.
- FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. I went to a baby shower today and the guest of honor asked if I brought diapers for the diaper raffle. I told her I didn’t know about it. She says, “I posted it on the FB event page.” That explains it. Was she wrong? Not at all. I use my FB and IG to communicate important information all the time. This kind of makes me want to go back to phone calls and text, though.
- Boredom is a thing. I get bored easily. Like, bored to tears kind of bored. Luckily, I have kids, but you can only play board games and ride bikes outside for so long. Usually we go somewhere to get out of the house, but it can get expensive paying for gas, food, and various entertainment fees. So, a lot of the time, they are at home doing their thing and I am playing on my phone. Then “mom guilt” sets in. Once again, I rally the kids to do something fun until boredom kicks back in. Wash, rinse, repeat.
- Bored, stressed, and lonely times are great times to pray. Not only do I use my phone to combat boredom and flee from stress, I use it to soothe loneliness too. I do things like spend hours on FB or IG watching stupid videos or looking at my cousin’s sister’s boyfriend’s profile to see where they went to high school. I love to go for walks outside when I’m feeling down, and I usually listen to music with headphones. But tonight, I left my phone on the kitchen table and went for a prayer walk instead.
Total screen time for today- 46 minutes. For comparison, my daily average before today was a whopping 5 hours and 35 minutes. PER. DAY. Yeah, it was definitely time for a change!
I will try to write a little update for each day this week and post the whole thing when I’m done. Wish me luck!