Putting your phone down, the most impossible task in the world. Everything in the world is right there at your fingertips. Social Media, News, texts from your mom asking you to take the chicken out of the freezer.
Being able to disconnect from the item that has seemingly become another part of our body is harder than it should be. Can you live without your phone? Of course you can. But can you live without your phone? Probably not.
The Apple iPhone has a setting that takes into account how much Screen Time you have used daily and weekly. It's actually a really scary thing to look at. Realizing how much of your day is being taken away because of the black hole of information that is contained in that tiny rectangular screen.
Putting your phone down and enjoying the world around you sounds like a simple solution. Yet it isn't that easy. But why?
Let's start with the essentials, because there are some things that you do actually need your phone for. The clock, because you need to know what time it is. Most people don't wear regular watches anymore unless its strictly for fashion.
Keeping in touch with your family. Grandma sends you that text every night "Goodnight sweetie. I love you!" And if you don't text her back she thinks something terrible has happened to you.
You need to check those emails, whether its for work or they're statements for your bills. You need to know what the weather is going to be like. And you need GPS to tell you where you're going. But everything after that is what gets us in trouble.
We need entertainment. Whether its Netflix, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or NBA League Pass, theres a plethora of entertainment that we can indulge ourselves in. And indulge we do.
If you're reading this right now, you're a reader (Which we promote here). But even reading stuff like this is for the use of entertainment. And although we must be entertained, there must be balance.
There's thousands and thousands of apps for gaming. This can be a fun little getaway from the realities of life at times, but I'm sure some modern day Oompa Loompas would have a song about why its bad for you.
But the biggest battle most people have with putting their phone down is because of social media. There's a million ways to stay connected with your friends, family, celebrities, your favorite restaurants or sports teams. Pretty much anything or anyone you can think of has a social media page.
It's not just one page, theres Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and whatever else the kids are using these days. And with so many options, it may turn you into Veruca Salt. Wanting everything at your fingertips with the push of a button.
This epidemic stems from a couple of reasons. The least worrisome is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). People want to constantly stay connected with the happenings in the world because they think if they don't check their phone every 20 minutes they might have missed out on something important. And in most cases, you're not missing out on much.
This dependency we have created for ourselves may not seem like much, but it is a small form of anxiety. Being behind everyone else who is staying up to the second with their feeds stresses us out. It gives one a sense of relief knowing that they're up to date with all their social media followings.
But the most troublesome reason is one that most of us may have trouble seeing within ourselves. There is a desire for others to see what we're up too or what we've posted.
When you post a picture on Instagram, you expect to get likes from your friends. When you send out a tweet on Twitter, you're hoping people either like it or retweet it or respond to it. It is a constant seeking of approval from those around you in the social media world.
There is nothing wrong with posting things that interest you and that you hope others are interested in as well. But its the underlying driving force to want to be liked that could lead you down a slippery slope.
So what can we do to not only limit our screen time, but make our screen time more valuable? It's starts with taking a look into the mirror. Or in this case, your front facing camera.
Look at your Screen Time and see what is taking up most of your time. More than likely it is going to be dominated by either Social Media, Entertainment, or Gaming. If you don't fall into any of those categories than you're probably a robot who lacks culture.
If you don't like what you see from your results, do something about it. If you're on social media too much, delete a couple of your apps. You don't need to stay connected through every social media app, most of them contain the same news just presented in a different way.
If you're indulging in too much entertainment, put a limit on how much Netflix you allow yourself to watch in a day. I'm pretty sure those movies and shows aren't going anywhere. You don't need to Binge Watch 5 hours of "Workin' Moms" in one day.
If you're playing too many games, delete all the apps except for one or two. Keeping just a couple on your phone at a time can help you limit yourself from trying to play every game every day.
You don't need to stop using your phone in order to stay connected with the real world. It's all about limiting the amount of useless crap you put into your brain. You need entertainment, social connections, and gaming to allow the creativity juices in your brain to flow.
But whatever you do, don't stop reading!