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True Life :: I Have an Addiction

true life - i have an addiction to my smartphone - columbia sc moms blog

My mom confession: I’m an addict.

We all have things we just can’t remove from our lives for whatever reason. Some people have an addiction to things that are very unhealthy, like alcohol or recreational drugs. Other people have less harmful obsessions like reading, cleaning or eating ice cream. (For the record, I am definitely NOT addicted to cleaning!)

When I was pregnant with my first child, I got my first smartphone. My husband was skeptical because if there was one device I used as little as possible, it was the phone. I am just not a phone person.

A smartphone, though, is another thing altogether.

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My first smartphone: Blackberry Storm

I was intrigued because I could be connected to people without having to actually talk to them. So with my brand new Blackberry Storm in hand, I logged on and started using it — mostly for my new Facebook account and email.

I loved it.

But I only used for those two things. Droid hadn’t been released yet and the Blackberry app store was … unappealing and expensive.

Once our first child was born, I used my smartphone more and more — for pictures, Facebook, emails, etc. Then we broke down and switched to AT&T so we could get iPhones (remember those days? when iPhones weren’t everywhere?).

With the Apple app store, there was so much more that was possible! Loads of free apps — we could chart our new baby’s growth, find games for both me and my husband (that counts as bonding, right?), there was a build in GPS … and that’s just scratching the surface.

I was in love … a completely changed person. No longer did I forget my phone at home or leave it behind. It was always within reach.

The years have passed. Technology has changed and so has my phone. But my love has never changed. Even though I have a Droid Turbo and not an iPhone, I’m okay with that. My current option has a great camera. Facebook works. It still connects to email and does a million other things that make life so much easier.

So, yeah, I remain addicted to my phone. So much that if I put it down and my daughter finds it, even when she was barely walking, she would toddle over to place it in my hand, because God forbid Mommy manage a minute without it.

The Harsh Reality of Facebook

I tried really hard to live without the luxuries my phone offers. REALLY HARD. Especially Facebook.

I deactivated my account, but realized too much of my life is wrapped up there for me to walk away. It’s how I connect with old friends and “meet” new ones. It’s how I keep track of events. It’s how I share pictures with friends and family that don’t see us often. It’s how I get news stories and see what’s #trending.

I don’t even need to watch football anymore. My fabulous Facebook crew keeps me up to date on the latest plays, bad referee calls and current scores.

I get the traffic report. Shoot, I even get the weather! If I want to know what is being built on Highway 378 in Lexington, someone in my newsfeed is sure to know.

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I love Facebook.

But I also hate how extremely addicting it can be. There are times I can hardly tune it out and walk away from it. But I have to because you know, I do have a life outside of Facebook. And my phone. And social media.

But God forbid I not be in the know of the activities happening around me and with my friends. They are my escape from the realities of life with very young children. It’s where I go to for advice and recommendations on parenting. It’s where I vent to my private group of friends any frustrations I am having with myself or my relationship.

It’s my refuge. I’m a better mom some days because of it. Other days, I’m sure it makes me worse.

I don’t really know what I’d do without this technology in my life. At times it’s a scary thing … to realize we as a society, and I as an individual, have become so dependent on this small handheld device. And that programs, like Facebook, often offer a diluted view of reality. Is it better to “know” a person the way they portray themselves on social media or know who they truly are in the “real world?”

Rules for Appropriate “Phone Time”

Through it all, I have learned to set rules for myself to ensure I am getting enough “face time” instead of all “screen time.”

  • I try to keep it put away when I’m with friends. Making real life time for them is important, and I intend to be present. However, I do keep in nearby and check it in case my husband needs to get in touch with me. I don’t, however, mindlessly scroll through my Facebook newsfeed or read the latest email that comes across my screen.
  • I put it away after the kids go to bed. Okay, honestly more times than not it’s because the battery is about to die, but it’s also so I can spend some uninterrupted time with my husband.
  • I keep it nearby, but turned over when my focus needs to be on something else. Not seeing my screen lighting up every five minutes helps me from getting distracted — especially during working hours and family time. And as a bonus, when I do flip it over during “down time,” I actually have a purpose to catch up on things rather than getting caught up in the “black hole” of the online world.

I’m addicted to technology — no way around it. I admit its necessity and usefulness in life, but also realize the awesome awfulness it can create. It’s still a daily struggle, but I’m conquering it one situation at a time, while reminding myself the importance of participating in the real life happening all around me at every moment.

Are you addicted to your phone? Is staying away from Facebook difficult? What tips and tricks do you have for keeping this simple handheld device from taking over your life?

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