Smartphone usage is through the roof. We may not think about how much we use our phones because they are so connected to us. But Even Apple investors realized how connected everyone is and want Apple to focus on teen smartphone usage. As an adult, I use my phone all the time doing various things. But recently, I decided to try and be present. I am on my phone constantly instead of engaging with those around me and I think more people are realizing the impact that the current digital age is having on the time spent with others. I am totally guilty of sitting on my phone when surrounded by family or friends (to be honest, I did it over the holidays when with my family). Why not scroll Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ESPN, Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, the news, LinkedIn, or Snapchat when there is a brief pause in the conversation or activity?
It is simply too easy to remove ourselves from the place we physically sit and “be present” on social media- tweeting or snapchatting what we are doing at that moment (which would be sitting). I like seeing what friends and former classmates are doing in their lives after college. I like seeing where they live and what they do with their free time. But I do it too often. I scroll through all of the social media sites listed above and by the time I am done with the list, I just start it over because I am bored and assume there will already be many new things posted. I do this when hanging out with Sarah and Eloise. If Eloise is playing with Sarah or starts to play by herself, I will immediately pull out my phone or pull up the news app on my watch.
Why can’t I even make it 2 minutes without wondering if I received a notification or not wanting to miss what someone else is doing that day?
The convenience of social media, being able to see what others are doing with the touch of a screen has consumed me. I have been working on this for a couple weeks. When Eloise plays by herself, I try not to pull out my phone. I watch her (because she might just walk off exploring) or grab one of her toys so that if she wants, we can play together. I’m not successful 100% of the time as identified by my incessant scrolling while with my family, but here are some ways I have been working on this and maybe you can too:
PUT THE PHONE ON A TABLE AND WALK AWAY
I will sit down and purposefully leave my phone on the couch when I get up or set it on a table and walk away. Then, I go play with Eloise or I will cook supper or read one of Eloise’s books. Even if I do this and only leave it there for 5 minutes, I count it as a win.
TURN THE PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE OR SILENT MODE
Silent mode should stop you from thinking you felt a vibration for an alert from your phone in your pocket. Airplane mode will set you free from any alerts while on. I don’t advise airplane mode 24/7 as your phone is a communication device for emergencies still, it will let you think about other things going on around you.
HIDE OR DELETE THE APPS YOU ALWAYS LOOK AT
It seems too simple but I put all of my social media apps besides LinkedIn, Buzzfeed, and the News app into a folder on the second page of my phone, and on the 3rd page within the folder. I believe it has stopped me from going there just to scroll through social media but I can still go on the apps whenever I have time or want to post something.
These tips are so simple but effective. I hope that I continue to improve on this and stop wasting so much time scrolling mindlessly through social media. You may not have realized the time you spend doing the same but if you feel like you have been missing out on events happening around you and weren’t sure why, try this out and let me know how it goes!