Last summer I wrote a blog expressing my frustration with my three teenagers’ addiction to smartphones and social networking sites.
As their parent, I take partial responsibility for creating our addicts. I didn’t put as many restrictions on their time spent on the smartphone from the onset that I could have.
In 2007 when smartphones first came on the scene, our children were 11, 10 and 8. The technology was so new and owning a “smart phone” was a pipe dream for us financially.
Of course, all 5 of us eventually dove in, with our youngest being allowed to get a phone at a much younger age than our eldest. We saw it as an opportunity to stay in touch with three active children who were riding their bikes all over town.
Then social networking sites exploded. When Facebook first came on the scene my first reaction was: “Who really cares what people are doing every moment of the day? It’s just a place where moms brag about their kids and isn’t Facebook messenger just another form of email in addition to my work and personal email I must check daily? It’s all just a big distraction.”
Ah, but we all know what came next. I fell in line with everyone else.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that smartphones and most social networking sites are having the opposite effect of what they were intended to do. They are resulting in an inability to effectively socialize and communicate with one another.
We sit on trains, planes and in cafes with our heads down barely noticing the people around us, never mind strike up a conversation with them.
Our younger generation is learning to communicate in fragmented sentences.
We’ve come to believe that the life put out on social networking sites is the life that people live all the time.
We are so addicted that if the device hasn’t “buzzed” in a while, we feel compelled to look at it, taking our focus away from the road while driving, from face-to-face conversations with family or friends, or slowing progress toward important goals – all because it’s always in the palm of our hands.
My New Year’s Resolution: put my own D$%n phone down. (The title of my blog last summer was: “Put Your D&%n Phones Down” -directed at my kids) After all, if I’m looking at my phone all the time, how can I expect my kids to lift their heads occasionally and have a face-to-face, meaningful conversation with me? I know I’m not alone in my desire to step away from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and the like. Addiction to social networking is have a grave impact on our emotional intelligence.
There is only ONE time you will see me looking at my smartphone and Facebook for a while each day. I still use Facebook for one valuable tool; my health and wellness accountability and support groups. For almost 10 years, our Facebook group; Team Thrive, has been a positive, motivating force for me. It’s a private forum where we gather to provide ideas, support and motivation toward better health. That’s it. No politics, no pontificating, no negativity.
If you want to use your smartphone for something good – for you and others – we welcome you to join the group. Just write me at email@example.com. Until then, let’s all try to get to know one another better…in person.
PS – I am posting this blog on my social networking sites that I still have open, because I know that’s the best way to reach most of you. So, now, put your phone down and step away from it for a while. 😉