Hi, I’m Emma and I’m addicted to my phone. Yes, it may sound funny, but I’m serious.
I’m sat up in the small hours of the morning, feeding Benjamin, and coming to the worrying realisation that the reason I feel like time is always going by so fast is this addictive little gadget in my hands.
I am almost constantly attached to my phone. Even when it runs out of battery, I plug it in and carry on using it, attached to the mains. It’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night.
I may try and kid myself that I ‘have to’ use it so often because of my blog, and yes, it is true that it’s hard to give up tech when you write a blog and social media becomes a little more than just a fun pastime, but if it starts taking over completely? Well then you have to admit it’s become a problem.
I read the other day that people generally touch their smartphone around 2,000 times a day. That number increases to 5,000 times a day for those addicted to their phone. I think I easily surpass those figures.
I will go on my phone and scroll through Facebook, double tap to close the app, open Twitter, scroll through that, double tap and open Instagram, double tap, open WordPress, have a little check of my blog stats, double tap, open WhatsApp, no messages there, double tap, back to Facebook. When I write it down in black and white it sounds awful. It is awful. And I’m not the only one doing it, I guarantee it.
Social media is addictive by nature. The fear of missing out is strong, especially when you are stuck at home all day with only young children as company. Cabin fever sets in and it can feel a little less lonely if you’re chatting away online with other people in the same situation, but is this lifestyle of having one foot in the virtual and one foot in real life healthy? I don’t think so.
I wrote about this problem way back in December, when taking part in both Blogmas and Vlogmas over Christmas really took its toll and I became burnt out. I realised then how much I was using my phone and I even vowed to do something about it, to make a change. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t manage it.
I’m not expecting to be able to give up tech completely, to go cold turkey as you will. That just isn’t feasible. I do write a blog, I do need to be present on social media to some extent, to share my writing, to reply to the people who have taken the time to leave me comments, to engage with me, and I also like to be able to share updates with my friends and family who aren’t close by, to be able to chat with them and see what they are up to as well. In fact, I use my phone to write the blog posts themselves, to publish them on WordPress.
I do need my phone. What I don’t need is this pressure I’ve put on myself to be constantly available, to be constantly present online. It’s so easy to get carried away with social media, to feel like you need to be switched on and there 100% 24/7.
I know deep down I’m not setting a good example to my children. When I’m on a walk with my little family with my head cast down looking at my phone (yes, really), when I’m sat half watching a film because I’m also ‘just checking’ something, anything.
I went to the beach for Ed’s birthday this week and he took my phone off me and put it in his bag so we could chat and properly catch up. So what did I do? I started nervously reading the bloody dominoes pizza menu that came on the box because I physically couldn’t sit still and not read through something.
I have said to my children and to Ed on more than one occasion that I ‘just need to do this’, and been sat there a few minutes later still just doing it. I don’t want tech to take over my life, I don’t want to be the person I’m describing in this post anymore. I want to be present and to appreciate life in the real world, rather than being so concerned about my virtual self.
I’ve decided to make what is ultimately a fairly small start, to help with the issues I’ve mentioned, and to bring myself back a little. Even though I can see it’s not a big deal really, it still feels rather huge for somebody who admits to being obsessed with their phone. I’m giving it up for one day a week.
Now, I’m not sure how this will work, whether I can really give up my phone for an entire day. After all, I may need it in an emergency. I might need to have it on me if I’m out and about, but I don’t quite trust myself to have it to hand if I’m not letting myself use it.
Although I’m clearly already unsure of my ability to go an entire day without checking the apps on my phone, I’m also feeling good about taking a step in the right direction. Tech Free Tuesday is going to be a thing, and I’m looking forward to being present, to taking everything in, to living my life without the constant shadow of social media. I’m looking forward to being me again, the girl I was before tech took over.
Wish me luck.