“Mommy, put down your phone!”
I know my kids have felt like that before, and chances are, yours have too.
The phone has become much more than a device to make calls. The phone is our GPS, camera, calendar, social media connection, news source, list maker, and so much more. Technology has certainly given us the opportunity to be more productive. But truthfully, have you found your phone to be more of a distraction than a help?
Since the phone is typically within arm’s reach (where is yours now?), you can check on lesson plans, church activities, things you need to buy for your kids, 24/7 if you want.
It can be hard to keep up.
Is it well with your phone?
Taming the Phone
Iowa State University researchers developed a questionnaire to help you determine if you suffer from nomophobia (the fear of being without your mobile phone). Researchers found about 58 percent of men and 47 percent of women suffer from the phobia, comparing stress levels to wedding day jitters or trips to the dentist. Here are a few of the statements from the questionnaire:
- I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
- If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
- If I did not have my smartphone with me:
– I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
– I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
– I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
Can you relate to these questions? Kids and teens aren’t the only ones struggling with managing screen time. Moms are too. Here are two ways you can bring more wellness to your phone use:
1. Practice the pivot
When you sense someone is approaching you (for example a family member coming home), get ready to perform the pivot. Turn away from your phone or your computer and make eye contact with the human being in the room. No more staring at your screen and just mumbling, “Hi.” Physically turn away from your devices and give the people who are present eye contact and your attention. Practice body language that communicates, “I’m listening.”
2. Enjoy all meals screen free
Whether you are eating out or at home, make your meals a special time with your family without the interruptions of screens. No video games, no TV in the background, no interruptions to text people back (unless it’s an urgent health need or transportation issue with one of your kids). This is the fun time in the day to connect through stories and laughter, empathy and listening. This is not the time to argue or complain.
Enjoying the Benefit
As you take steps to limit and tame your technology, the more alive and healthy you will feel with your family. It is better to be Wifi-poor but soul-rich. It is good to measure our dependence on our devices from time to time to make sure we aren’t making idols out of them.
You can live in such a way to say, “It is well with my phone.”
Not only will this benefit you, it will bless your children who are watching.
Learn how to declutter your screen time!
Be sure to pick up your copy of Calm, Cool, and Connected, where Arlene Pellicane will walk you through an easy 5-step plan that will help you center your life on Jesus and love others by decluttering your screen time.
About the Author
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of several books including Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, and Focus on the Family.
Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit ArlenePellicane.com