Overcoming my Smart Phone Addiction

All the Joy of Plaid

Recently I noticed my son starting to act out. He would walk over and smack our television, or snatch my phone out of my hand. At first, this really irritated me. Then I took a second to think about why he had developed these new behaviors, he was acting out because he felt like I was ignoring him.

I know that this is a touchy subject, and I know that there are people who will think I’m crazy because I (kind of) gave up the internet for five days. Trust me, I’m not one of those people that thinks technology is evil and is destroying the world as we know it. However, I do believe it can turn us into people that we don’t want to be. I know that technology, my phone, in particular, helps me fill empty space. It’s the first thing I reach for when I’m bored, feeling uncomfortable, or just don’t know what else I should be doing. Honestly, there are times I reach for my phone for no reason, I just picked it up to mindlessly scroll through Facebook. I’m not trying to say that it’s a problem for everyone, but for me, smart phone addiction was truly an issue. That’s why I decided to give it up for a week (a work week of course).

I’ll be honest, I didn’t give my phone up completely. I’m too much of a baby for that. I still allowed myself some screen time, although it was extremely limited. I told myself I could still text, or call people. Mainly because I have a son, and if something were to happen to him I’ll need to be reached quickly. And, because I have a full-blown addiction, and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to function without my phone at all. I also allowed myself to access Youtube. If you’ve read my post about my autistic burnout, you’ll know that I consider Youtube one of my stims. It’s extremely important for me to be able to deal with my anxiety in a healthy way, and watching Youtube videos helps me do that. So, I allowed myself to continue to watch YouTube but only under certain circumstances. I could only watch it if my son was asleep for the night, or I couldn’t control my anxiety with another form of stimming. Other than that, I had no access to my phone. Now I’m sure you guys are thinking “what the hell, she didn’t give up much!”, and you’re kind of right. I could still text and call people and I could still enjoy Youtube. However, I didn’t allow myself access to Facebook, Instagram, or another form of social media. Some may see that as a small victory, and that okay.

I do want to make it perfectly clear that I never intended to give up social media, or my phone forever. I wanted this experiment to be a learning experience for me, and it was just that. I learned a lot about myself over the last five days, and I’m incredibly proud and ashamed of myself all at the same time. I’m ashamed that I ever let my phone control so much of my life. I’m ashamed that I allowed my phone to change the way I interacted with my son. However, I’m proud that I was able to put my ego aside and realize when I had a problem. I’m also very proud that I didn’t slip up, not even for a second 😊. I’m hoping that some of you reading this will take my advice, and go on a technology detox yourselves. I think I could do us all some good, to step away from all our distractions for a little bit.

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So, here’s what I learned.

I can get a lot of Sh*t done without my phone.

This one actually surprised me a lot. I never realized how much time I spent staring at my phone. All this week I was able to get myself, my son ready, and be out the door ahead of schedule. That was something that never happened before. I would wake up, and immediately grab my phone and be stuck in a trance until about ten minutes before I had to leave. I would always complain about how I never had enough time to do anything when in reality I was just using my time to check my Instagram feed. If there’s one habit I keep from this past week, I’ll be not looking at my phone in the morning. Giving up my screen time in the morning alleviated a lot of the anxiety I felt throughout the day. I realized that having a smoother start to my day changed my entire attitude.

I Spend a lot of time curating moments.

Now I know I’m not the only guilty one here. How many of you find yourself trying to capture beautiful moments of your kid with your phone? Spoiler alert, the answer is all of you. OF course, you want to get that really cute picture of your kid, who doesn’t? You’re trying to capture a memory, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not telling you to stop taking pictures, or videos of moments you want to remember forever. I’m simply encouraging you to participate in some of those moments as well.  Let someone else take the pictures, or hell, get really wild and don’t take any photos at all. Be present. Live in the moment. Focus on the here and now.

I was able to make real connections with people again.

This is something that I really struggled with. I allowed my phone to put up a wall between me and other people. I’m socially awkward, and sometimes being around people makes me really uncomfortable. Therefore, I find it incredibly difficult to interact with people. Without knowing it, I used my phone to combat this issue Whenever I was uncomfortable or didn’t know what to say I would start scrolling on my phone. Not having my phone this week forced me to learn a new coping skill. I either interacted with the people around me or sat in awkward silence without using my phone as a crutch.

I had FOMO like a MOFO

This was honestly the thing I struggled with most. I’m a little embossed to admit that I actually had anxiety attacks because I was afraid of missing out. I no longer had that instant access to information the way I had before. It made me feel very disconnected from the world…at first. Then a realized that 99.9% of the crap I looked at on Facebook, or Instagram was pointless.

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I know that this isn’t for everyone, but I’m hoping some of you will decide to take back some of the power you’ve lost through your phone. I know that I’m going to make a conscious effect to keep my phone face down when I’m with others. I’m going to start making meaningful connections again, and I encourage you to do the same.

See ya next time!

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