Friday 20 June 2014

Me and my phone

On our recent holiday to Ibiza we made the decision not to purchase wi-fi at the hotel. Instead we mostly left our phones in the safe in the hotel room and managed without. I'm really glad that we made that decision, because it made me think a lot about how much I use my smart phone.

The trouble is that I feel I need to be contactable - by my husband, by the school or nursery. I also use my phone for lots of things - as a camera, a clock, shopping list, calorie counter, housework organiser. So I tend to carry it about the house with me.

With instant notification of a new e-mail or social media mention, I feel obliged to check it straight away. If I'm occupied and can't respond immediately, I start to feel anxious. If I'm halfway through responding and I'm interrupted, I become irritable.

But on holiday it was different. A couple of times during the week I checked my e-mails, but because I wasn't watching them as they came in I didn't feel that I had to respond immediately. In the end, there were only a very few e-mails that actually needed a response.

I took a small notebook away with me, and I found myself jotting things down - ideas for blog posts (like this one!) and also random thoughts. I do like writing, and so the notebook became my blog substitute. With all that time to think instead of mindlessly scrolling on a phone screen, I found myself reminiscing happily to myself about previous holidays that I've enjoyed, and then talking about those memories with the children. I also managed to read three books, mainly using those short periods of spare time when I would have been on my phone.

Pen and notebook

Since coming home, it's really made me think, and I've been trying very hard to leave the phone on the side, where I can still hear it ringing but can ignore the other noises that it makes. Because of course the real impact of being constantly on the phone is on the rest of the family.

The children are growing up in a world where they are surrounded by smartphones, tablets and all the technology that is yet to come. They do need to use and be familiar with it, and their childhoods are going to be very different to mine. I also gain a lot from using my phone - there is always someone to chat to on-line and I've found plenty of thought provoking and informative content to read.

But children learn by example, and I can see a scenario in a few years time where we are all sat around physically in the same room but interacting with a screen instead of each other. In fact I can already see it happening sometimes now. So I'm now going to try very hard from now on to set a good example.

I'll leave you with this video, you've probably already seen it but it definitely deserves repeated viewing!

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