“Smart” Phone Detox
On a recent getaway to the Karoo, I found myself without cell phone reception. While the idea of being on a complete break from my smartphone seemed blissful, I soon recognised how disconnected I felt from the outside world. While it’s not rocket science to know that modern technology and social media have made a remarkable impact on how we connect and communicate, after a two-day detox, I missed my “morning paper” of Twitter and found it difficult not to think about the overflowing inbox that awaited me!
Spending quality time with family (without periodic “bleeps” and scrolling timelines) reminded me of how we need to start moving away from “multi-tasking” relationships. It’s been a common theme in couple therapy that partners are becoming resentful of BBM and What’s App encroaching on family time. I’m sure we can all relate to going out for dinner and someone at the table spends more time on their phone than in actual conversation! For many, it’s hard not to perceive that kind of behaviour as “I’m not important” or “I’m not interesting enough.” Interestingly, the smartphone leech at the table is usually quite oblivious to their lack of social skills!
Some tips on “smart” phone use:
- Recognise that an instant message does not necessitate an instant response (in a crisis situation, you’re more likely to get a call)
- Spend quality time with your partner/friend/family with your phone on silent/off – it will do wonders for your relationship
- Set specific times to check social media – constant scrolling reduces productivity, fosters procrastination and can be habit-forming
- Learn how to balance connecting online and living in the “here and now” – make people in your immediate environment feel important and valued