One of the most amazing things about living in our world today is the fact that we have instant, full access to a galaxy of information with just a few key swipes on a cell phone anytime and anywhere we want it. Which can be amazingly helpful if we are trying to remember when our appointment is, what the restaurant address is, what is playing at the local theater that we might want to go see after lunch, etc.
Butthis incredible device that keeps us connected to others and the world 24-7 can disconnect us from those that are physically around us such as our children and our partners and friends. As a family practitioner I counsel families to make sure their kids don’t have too much screen time, as it has been linked to issues with obesity, anxiety and aggression in kids: read more by clicking here.
It is important for adults to have rules around screen/technology use as well.One of the interesting findings that has come out of study of our technology laden world is that we are all dopamine junkies: a chemical made by our brain that gets released when we accomplish something. That dopamine can be released if we do a monumental thing or something miniscule such as erasing a piece of junk mail on our phone. No wonder so many folks are connected to their phones most of the time: it is literally rewarding them with feel-happy drugs!Find out more by clicking here.
If you are constantly being distracted by your phone you may find that those around you, especially your children will feel under-loved and left out.
Dr. Steiner-Adair wrote a book all about this very issue called The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. Dr. Steiner-Adair reports that one of her most interesting findings was "the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents' attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry." More on this by clicking here.
So put down the phone, set limits for yourself, talk with your partner and your children and come up with ground rules for how much technology should be used.
At our house we do ‘no-screen day’ Sundays where unless it is a very, very important thing we don’t use screens at all. So we use the CD player instead of our computer to play music and we (gasp) look up recipes in our cookbooks instead of on the computer.
If you find yourself constantly checking your phone when you hear a little chime and it isn’t an honest-to-goodness requirement that you check for messages or be available at all times then turn off the alert sound.
Check your phone only when needed or on a schedule such as every other hour.