Do you find it difficult to sit through church without touching your phone?
Does technology tend to decrease your productivity?
Do you often check your phone for calls, emails, or texts?
If you answer yes to questions like these, you may be nomophobic – you have a fear of being without your mobile phone.
Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan studied families with children between the ages of 10 and 17. The studies showed that, on average, children confront their parents about their technology use almost as much as parents confront their children. In fact, one survey of 6,000 kids revealed that 54 percent said their parents use the phone too much.
Arlene Pellicane is with us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Unplugging Yourself to Connect with Others” to talk about healthy boundaries with technology. We have programs about kids and tech, but this episode is about you and tech – how to connect with your kids, your spouse, and other people while keeping your phone on the back burner.
One concept she explains is what she calls the “smartphone habit loop.” That’s the idea of a cue, a routine, and a reward.
It works like this: You wake up in the morning, and the first thing you see is your phone charging on your bedside table. That’s the cue. Before your feet even hit the floor, you look up the weather, check your emails, your calendar, and maybe a few news websites. That’s the routine. The reward is the videos you watch, the news story you read, or an email you’ve been expecting.
In short, you’ve created a “habit loop” around your phone. What often happens as a result is that your day starts with the stress of a busy schedule, people emailing and asking for something from you, or bad news from around the world.
Is that the best way to wake up in the morning? Probably not. So what if you changed the cue and formed a new routine? What if the first thing you saw on your bedside table in the morning was your Bible? A new routine could be a short time in God’s Word and prayer. If you did that, you’d likely start the day in a much calmer, centered way.
Arlene also uses the acronym HABIT to describe simple ways to form healthier habits and disciplines when it comes to technology:
H – Hold down the off button.
A – Always put people first.
B – Brush daily (like with your teeth), live with a clean conscience.
I – Intentionality, go online with purpose.
T – Take a hike, set your phone aside and get outside for some fresh air.
You can manage your digital lifestyle and build authentic relationships when you unplug from technology. Time is the currency of our lives. We don’t want to waste our days doing secondary things. We want to spend our lives doing what counts.
Tune in to our program on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app, or watch the full program on our YouTube channel. You’ll be encouraged to put down your phone and enjoy some face-to-face interaction.
Arlene has written a book, Calm, Cool and Connected: Five Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life. I’d love to send a copy to you for a gift of any amount. It’s our way of saying thank you for supporting Focus on the Family. Give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). Or visit our website for more information.