How much screen time do you use?
A notification came up on my phone today and apparently my smart phone has been keeping track of how much time we spend together. I couldn’t believe the number of hours it tallied! It was nearly the equivalent of a full-time job!
Whaaat? Stupid phone! That can’t be right, can it?
But then, I started doing the math. A quick check of Facebook in the morning. A YouTube video or podcast while I get ready for work, as I meal prep and when I do the dishes. A bit of scrolling social media here and there. My digital crossword puzzles and Solitaire games at night to relax – and it all adds up! Combine that phone screen time with my Netflix and NFL addiction and boom – I am spending more time with my screens than I am with my husband.
Is it time for a digital detox?
According to Courtney Carver, we spend an average of five hours a day with our devices. Dr. Sylvia Hart Frijd said that the constant use of our phones is rewiring our brains. What we call multi-tasking is actually training us to be distracted and making it harder for us to stay on task with thoughts and projects.
All that heads-down posture lowers our empathy toward others and is deteriorating our interpersonal skills. Just curious, when was the last time you struck up a conversation with the woman in line with you at the grocery store or bank or on the bus?
We use our phones to stalk instead of talk. We don’t actually connect with real people on our phones creating a feeling of isolation and loneliness. Case in point – do you call or do you text more often?
7 ideas to detox from screens
Obviously, we can’t just stop using our phones, but we can make some modifications. If you’re ready to re-evaluate the relationship with your screens, let me make a couple of suggestions.
- Turn push notifications off so your phone isn’t constantly binging and beeping at you.
- Put your phone in airplane mode or use the Do Not Disturb feature for segments of time – especially while sleeping or working.
- Delete apps that suck you in and keep you mindlessly occupied. Be intentional by using timers or delete apps entirely.
- Call rather than text.
- Engage with people around you. Ask about the weather or the ball game or the price of milk.
- Change your phone from color (which attracts our attention) to gray scale.
- Repurpose some of your screen time. Take up an actual hobby. Read a book. Paint a picture. Go for a walk. Write a letter.
Our culture has never been more connected or more lonely.
God put unique gifts, talents and qualities in you to bless others. You have marvelous and tragic life experiences that can encourage and equip others if you choose to share them.
God did not create us to do life alone. Connect with your people instead of your screens and feel the love come back into your relationships. Set aside the screen and experience the satisfaction of your productivity levels escalate. A digital detox will re-ignite your creativity and delight your imagination.
Say no to your phone for an hour, a day or a weekend. Set it down, leave it behind, or turn it off for a digital detox.
I’d love to hear what you discover during your digital detox and what your best strategy is for saying connected to your people instead of plugging into your screens.
Lord, thank you for the ease of the world I live in. The little device in my hand is more powerful than the computers that sent men into space 50 years ago. How wondrous! But Lord, I beg you to help me to keep anything but You from ruling my life. Protect my time and attention from distractions. Remind me that while many things vie for my attention, that I must keep my eyes on you first.
“I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 New International Version (NIV)