I trying an experiment that I began a few months ago until the end of the year. I gave up my smartphone.
In recent years more and more research has found correlations between smartphone use and marriage problems, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and emotional distance. I see it in my clients. I have counseled couples for years to be careful with their use so that the phone doesn’t take away from family time. Unfortunately, I found that I was not feeling as happy, my kids would ask if I was done with my phone so they could spend time with me, and I wasted more time on it than I spent focusing on my wife.
I always love staying ahead of the technological trend. I was an early adopter of the smartphone. Unfortunately, technology has developed faster than we as a society can figure out how to balance the impacts of the development on our lives. Look around at people and see how dominated their lives are by these devices.
As a couples counselor, I am a huge advocate for what research proves will help individuals, couples and families. The research is now clear: smartphones don’t help the relationships, mental health, or self-image of individuals, couples, and families. How could I read more and more studies showing the same thing and not see how it applied to me? So, I gave it up. I have now spent the past few months with a flip phone. The result? I can honestly say it has changed my life.
I haven’t felt this involved with my wife and children in years. I feel happier and less stressed. I am reading books again. I no longer have the phantom vibration coming from my pocket notifying me of one of a dozen meaningless things. I keep better boundaries with my work. I can wait without needing to pull out my phone to squeeze 30-seconds of additional screen time. I don’t find myself hooked to a virtual world that had partially replaced my real world. I have taken my life back.
I am not saying that you must give up your smartphone (though you might give it a try). But, I think you should be honest with yourself about how much you are actually tied to it. Your family deserves the very best you can give them. Make more time for them by putting down your phone and picking up your family.