Dear cell phone addict,

I see you.

I hear you.

I’ve been you.

In an effort to prevent my children from having a permanently attached phone to their hands – I became very aware of my own need for constant contact with my device. I saw my husband always touching his too. We have strict rules about screens – so I thought I had covered my bases, but I didn’t exactly restrict myself. Was I addicted. No way! Me? How dare you suggest such a thing! Okay, wait. It is Lent, and honesty is the best policy….so yeah, you got me. I was addicted. I never lost my phone – but always lost my keys, my 4th child, my to-do list…but never my phone. I purposefully picked outfits that included a pocket, for my phone, and I am ashamed to admit, most of my addiction included mindless scrolling. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest….Amazon prime! I was addicted, and my bad habit was very visible to my four most important followers.

How did I break the cycle? Well, I’m a work in progress – but for starters, I began treating my phone like a landline. I require that my children keep theirs on the bar in our kitchen, so now – mine stays there as well. My ringer is up, my notifications for social media are all turned off, and I refuse to “check” my social media sites while the kids are around. Not quite cold turkey, but pretty aggressive if you ask me! It wasn’t easy at first. I found myself missing Pandora and oh wait, what if I missed the Zulily notification! Heaven forbid, I get to the sale and everything is sold out! I mean honestly…we all functioned just fine before cell phones, we can certainly all make it now.

One of the biggest issues with todays youth is that they are willing to say almost anything electronically…but put them face to face and they barely interact, or their interactions are borderline inappropriate! It drives me crazy! I was in a situation just a few weeks ago, where a teenage girl came up to one of my 40-something friends and got in her face! My friend was innocent, this girl had her facts wrong, but this situation would have never happened 10 years ago. Why? Because respect is dead. Kids don’t understand the social order. At. All. I blame screens for that. We feel that by “liking” someones Instagram post – we are interacting and forming relationships. We’re BFFs! We get anxiety when someone doesn’t respond to our text or FB message right away… and I really do believe young people have lost the ability to interact with each other, and with adults appropriately. The NEED for instant gratification is real. Its an epidemic.

I certainly do not have all the answers. However, I’m trying. It starts at home. The gaming, the cell phones, the tables, the smart watches…. There have to be limits. Your family may not need the same limits that mine have, but we all need to restrict ourselves. Really, that goes for everything. I mean, if I ate a medium McDonald’s fry every time I scrolled through Facebook….I’d have a really, big (obese!) problem.

Restrictions are good, screens? I am undecided. What if the very thing that keeps us all connected, is also tearing us apart?

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