I’m Addicted to My iPhone…And I Hate It (See Jane Vent)

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Although my content revolves around style, every once in awhile I wax poetically about things I’m passionate about. Remember when I said blogging was dead?  (Hey, I’m still here!)  I also talked about the harsh realities of my post-baby body versus what I see on the internet.  Well, now I’m going to talk about my iPhone addiction–and I’d love your thoughts.

I am absolutely addicted to my iPhone.  I’m not proud of it–in fact, I’m ashamed.  I hate that if I don’t know where my phone is, I panic and call a search party to help me find it.  I hate that when I’m in elevators, I look down at my phone instead of making conversation with my co-workers.  I hate that I look down at my phone at red lights (I really hate that I do that).  I hate that my phone is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep at night.  I hate that as I’m writing all this, I’ve glanced down at my phone several times in between.

Yes, I know hate is a strong word.  Hear me out.  Checking my phone has become a reflex.  What could have possibly happened in the past six minutes that urges me to look down at my phone?  Most likely nothing.  It’s like I’m not allowing myself to be bored anymore.  I’ve always been taught that from boredom springs real imagination.  Instead, I’m mindlessly scrolling and thinking about nothing.  I wish I was fully engaged and interacting with the people in front of me rather than reading the latest political sound byte, scouring several real estate apps or looking to see what others (largely people that I don’t know) are doing through their social media platforms.   I’m conditioned to demand an immediate response; instant gratification is the norm these days.  I think about my own experiences growing up and how the agony of waiting taught me to have some patience (something I’m in dire need of these days) and it’s easy to fall back on the nostalgia factor–‘in the good ol’ days, we used landlines’ and ‘I didn’t get my own phone until I was in high school–and it only made calls!’  I go there all.the.time.  But, I don’t see our current technology going anywhere any time soon, so it’s on me to figure out how to deal with my addiction.

Parenting and my own insecurities have forced me to do a lot of self-reflecting on 1.) admitting my addiction and b.) understanding why I hate it.  I look at my kids, Harry in particular, and see how great he is at playing, imagining and entertaining himself and I feel gutted when he tries to get my attention when I’m mindlessly scrolling on my phone.  Not only that, I want to set a good example and encourage him to keep growing that imagination (which is wild at the moment–he uses it every night to get out of sleeping in his bed alone).  Also, I recently watched the movie WALL-E with him and felt like our society is heading for those living on the spaceship.  The turning point for me?  The part where the humans who move solely in their ‘hoverboard recliners’ talk to the person next to them via video screen.   The person next to them!  Then I realized I have definitely texted a person next to me instead of speaking to them.  Oof.

My last point is not revolutionary; in fact, I think most people whose jobs rely on technology feel this way at some point.  My addiction is exhausting.  I feel the need to keep up with everyone and everything constantly.  I don’t always like the emotions and actions that invokes inside me: jealousy of people I don’t know, snap judgments about things I don’t fully comprehend and the need to google EVERYTHING, etc.

So there we have it.  Am I quitting my phone cold turkey?  Definitely not.  However, I want to curb the addiction and maintain a normal, working relationship with phone.  For starters, I’m going to try and be more cognizant of my behavior–especially cutting down on using it around my kids.  I even thought, as I lay in bed last night, maybe I’ll try and leave it home for a day while I’m at work (crazy, right?).  I’d love to know your thoughts on it as I’m sure many of you have felt this way some time or another.  What are your tips/tricks for weaning yourself off of technology 24/7?  I need them.

34 comments

  1. Ugh, I feel the same way! It's just so hard to disconnect now that we're so used to it. I've only had a smartphone for 5 years and before that I had a pay as you go flip phone that I rarely used. Now I'm the person who's always on her phone.

    I'm going on a trip next month and I'm HOPING to disconnect for a while, although I'll still be taking pictures and instagramming, ha ha. But the rest of it – GONE! But then I'll probably be back to my old ways when I get home. Vicious circle. Gonna have to come back to read people's tips 😉

    http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

  2. So this may seem totally counter productive, but hear me out. I got an apple watch and it has drastically reduced the time I spend on my phone. I set it up so that I only receive text and phone alerts (no social media alerts or email alerts) and I deleted most of the other "watch" apps. I also have two young kids so I never want to miss a text from the daycare/doctor/etc… I keep my phone in my bag and I rest assured knowing that if something is urgent, I will be alerted. It changed the way that I used to always just reach for my phone. I would justify it by saying to myself "what if the daycare texted", but then I end up on social media or the internet. You can have piece of mind knowing that you are "reachable" but even though your phone is out of reach.

    • I actually know a lot of moms who swear by their apple watch! I'm pretty good about staying off my phone when I'm out and about with my kids but when I'm home, it's like I can't look away. Thank you for the tip – not counterintuitive at all! 🙂

  3. You can also try the app Moment. It tracks how much screen time you use by app. I heard it on the Minamalists podcast. Maybe seeing that every day might help out as well. I've recommended it to my husband who uses his phone a lot and it has seemed to bring more awareness to how much actual time he's on his phone. It also helps with the urge to pick up the phone because you know it's documenting your time.

  4. I totally hear you on this one, and my addiction is something I've been super aware of recently. I don't have small children, but I do have a demanding job, and I hate that when I AM free to spend time with my boyfriend, or go out to dinner with friends, or have time for myself, I have this need to check my phone.

    I recently subscribed to this somewhat random newsletter called "Rad Reads" by this guy named Khe Hy. I don't really know who he is or what his real goal is, but he often shares articles, podcasts and think pieces that have to do with productivity, and in turn, how dependent we are on technology and our phones. I was listening to one of those podcasts this week and the guest said something in particular that stuck with me. The purpose and mission of companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is to get us to spend more time on screen. It's not a conspiracy, or malevolent, but just like an oil company must extract oil from the ground to make money, these social sites (and really, anything online/mobile) profit from commodifying our attention. I don't know why, but that thought helped me shift my thinking a bit, and maybe it will yours too? When you have to check your phone or any of the apps on it, you're helping a company profit from your attention, rather than keeping that attention for yourself. The whole episode is much broader than just "iPhone addiction" but if you'd like to listen, it's here, titled "What is Technology Doing to Us?" https://radreads.co/radreads-115-ca0c84a096ad. (And I do recommend subscribing – it truly is a great Saturday morning read every week).

    Sorry for the long windedness, but your post really hit home. Thanks!

  5. What a brave post, Anna. Hi from Auckland, New Zealand. Down here, we are definitely big gadget users. Being so isolated geographically I guess it connects us to the rest of the planet. I got my first iPhone four years ago because I could no longer see the text on my Nokia phone so it was for very practical reasons. But I quickly got hooked into its magic. Instagram is my big addiction. One thing I did recently is move the addictive apps off the home screen onto a page several scrolls back. It helped because when you glance down, you only see the 'boring' apps like the weather one. If Chicago weather is as unpredictable as Auckland weather, you don't bother looking. Another trick is that I'll initially take some photos of something to record a moment then put the phone away and 'be present' in that moment. You'll find you get enough photos of an event, and once your phone is put away you can actually enjoy it live! Good on you for owning this problem and reaching out.

  6. I've recently decided to go back to using an alarm clock. It's a small way to break the routine of starting and ending the day scrolling on my phone. I've also tried turning my screen to black and white, which makes mindless browsing far less appealing.

  7. I give myself moments when I don't have it. Like when I go to yoga, I walk to the studio and back from my apt, and I leave it at home. I'm in a class for 75 minutes anyway- what could possibly happen in the six blocks it takes me to get there? When I take my dog for a walk by the river I leave it in my car. I do not have it out on date night. One thing that helped is getting rid of social media but I know as a blogger you can't do that. My brother keeps his social media accounts but doesn't have them on his phone- he uses his laptop to check so it's not readily available.

    • I've been making it a point to not walk and look at my phone, too; although I've been guilty of walking and looking at my phone, it's kind of scary when you look around and see everyone just glued to theirs…I'm surprised more people aren't hurt by cars, honestly!

  8. This sounds totally crazy but getting an Apple Watch really helped me. I keep my phone in one spot in my house and my watch lets me know when I get a call or text which is all I really need to know. Now I don't check my phone every 5 minutes for no reason other than habit. I scroll through social media while I eat lunch and the girls are napping. Otherwise I don't have it in my hands during the day!

  9. I feel the exact same way about my phone! My husband and I set an alarm and have a rule that we both put our phones away at 9pm and have a few hours of phoneless time before bed to enjoy eachothers' company. It works great! I also try to put it in a desk drawer at work, checking it only on breaks.

    Good luck! It's tough to break :S

  10. Whennon vacation we don't use our phones except to take pictures or look up directions, that's it. It is amazing to have that level of disconnect. It's really refreshing, and it also highlights how some people still try to text and call us knowing our feelings and the need to disconnect. That break is a great way to wean off the phone addiction and once we get back home it's a lot easier to stay off. It's a hard addiction to break, especially since people are always calling and texting. I feel like everyone needs to be connected 24/7 now. I really miss the days when we weren't so connected and has no pressure to respond to people instantly.

  11. yes!! awesome post and I am struggling with the same thing. I just read Hands Free Mama and was super motivated to make some changes in my tech habits.

  12. I feel the exact same way! I've tried deleting apps on my phone in order to curb random scrolling (Facebook primarily) and I always end up re-downloading them. My fiance and I do a "no tech Wednesday" night where we play card games, talk, get something done we've been meaning to. It's very refreshing but also unnerving how anxious it can be not to look at my phone.

  13. Thank you for this post! And I love some of the ideas in the comments. There are a ton of apps out there but I downloaded something called BreakFree. It literally shames you when you spend to much time on your phone (like sending you a notification saying GET A HOBBY in all caps…lol). You can set it up to notify you when you spend more than 15 minutes (or any amount of time) looking at your phone, or set up so it turns off notifications during certain hours. It has definitely helped me and made me more aware. I am also going to start plugging in my phone away from my bedside table, and I sometimes leave it in random spots in the house for a few hours. Good luck!

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