People, especially couples, are increasingly disconnected from each other….
There are many opinion leaders such as Simon Sinek and Tristan Harris who, recently, have brought this topic to my attention. The world today is confusing distraction with entertainment and the depth of human relationships with the superficiality of social media interactions. And, many studies are pointing to smartphone addiction as a growing problem in the current digital distraction society in which we live in.
“40% of couples aged 18-55 say they had actually delayed sex with a partner because of using some kind of technology” (Durex, 2015)
- “81% of people said they keep their phones near themalmost all the time during waking hours” (Gallup, 2015)
- “Smartphone addiction said to be linked to your kids’ bad behavior” (Illinois State University in Normal, 2017)
As a soon-to-be first-time dad, I am even more concerned about what this society of distraction will bring to my child. Since children learn from their parents’ behaviors, we can collectively work on changing some of our tech addictive behaviors. Let’s not set the wrong example by being on our phones constantly and tossing children a device to use as a distraction mechanism.
One of the biggest barriers to solve the smartphone addiction problem is the approach we are taking. While everybody is trying to come up with the latest and greatest in technology, I believe what we truly need is a minimalist approach: “LESS technology is MORE”. We need to reduce the amount of time we engage with technology, and we need to create more phone-free spaces and experiences.
Here are five ways to disconnect and reconnect:
- Choose to disconnect during moments that matter. Technology will always be there, however, there are moments in the day and in our lives, that should be free from distraction. My favorite time of the day to put away the phone is at the dinner table whether at home or at a restaurant so I can really enjoy my time and conversations with the people around me. Learn to be more mindful during moments that truly matter in our lives.
- Put your phone on silent or airplane mode. Need to get work or get an errand done? There is nothing more distracting than the ping or buzzing of a phone. Switch your phone to silent or airplane mode and set it aside until the task at hand is done. And if you are ever so brave, completely turn-off your phone. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Plan a technology-less getaway or retreat. Whether splurging on 5-star accommodation or taking those hiking boots out and camping, plan on using several days to fully power down and recharge. If it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen? Yes, yes it did because we are adults and don’t need to justify where we are, who we are with or what we are doing with a social post. We can all do without our phones for a Zen weekend of “me” time.
- Create phone-free zones. Don’t have a TV in the bedroom? Then why should your phone be in there? Limit the areas you take your phone, and that includes the bathroom! We have all been there, on the loo scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes. STOP IT. It’s not doing you or anyone else any good. Set a goal and stick to it.
- Challenge your family members. My husband challenged me to a phone-free bedroom for 1 month. I won’t lie, I definitely argued against it first, but then I gave in. The result? We were sleeping better and faster, we woke up in a better mood, we had less anxiety and we reconnected with each other. Truth be told, we haven’t brought our phones back in the bedroom since. This led us to the creation of Bagby. Our aim is to help other people, especially couples, start their phone detox journey.
I encourage you to challenge your partner and create phone-free moments so you can reconnect in a more mindful way.