Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

You-and-the-phoneMy family and I went to a neighbor’s house the other night for dinner, and I did the strangest thing:

I left my cellphone at home.  On purpose.

And, as much as I am ashamed to admit it, I went through a bit of withdrawal.

Over the course of the 4-hour visit, I had a few hankerings to check email and Facebook, but I survived.  Instead, I watched my kids play in the yard and engaged fully in conversation with my friends without interruption.  It was wonderful.

It’s now obvious to me that phones have become an addiction that many, including myself, find hard to break.

Of course, in the last few years mobile phones have transformed in such a way that anything someone could ever need is right in the palm of their hand.  It’s all rather new to us, still, which feeds the addiction.

But my summer camp cannot come soon enough.  You see, students are not allowed to bring phones or iPads to our camp, and staff and faculty greatly limit their technology use.  Never mind the camp, it is time for people in all over to start disconnecting from their phones, because these devices have been greatly interfering with reality. The other night was a prime example.

I’m starting to wonder if the cell phone dilemma is the actual Zombie Apocalypse. Everyone is glued to a phone all day long.  Sidewalks are flooded with people immersed in their own digital worlds.

The irony is that people tune out the world in order to “connect with life” on their phones. While we are using our cellphones to keep in touch with family and friends, we are ignoring reality and the people around us in the process.

Because of this, I have missed hours of watching my kids play. I used to love to people-watch as well…that hasn’t happened lately.  With eyes glued on a phone, I have missed these simple pleasures.

But here’s where I get worried:  The other night I actually experienced anxiety without the phone. That cannot be good.  And then I learned their is actually a term for this:

Nomophobia  (“no mobile phone phobia.”)

Are you freaking kidding me??

The fact that it’s possible to for people to freak out while being away from their phone is frightening. But then I remember the first week of my camp, where kids are without phones for the first time in ages.  I have never been in a drug rehab facility, but I’m pretty sure their is a comparison to be made there.

We all need to step back and remember that there is more to life, and we need to do it now. I had my “moment” the other night, so I have been warned.

Greater satisfaction can be felt when you sit through an entire conversation without checking your texts or Facebook. Even something as simple as putting down your cellphone to look out the window can bring a feeling of tranquility. And once in awhile, it is nice to look up from the screen and notice the world in which we live in.  I’m going to try harder, that’s for sure.


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