The day I broke up with my phone

I set a challenge for my parents, to have a day without their phones.

Like all good leaders of a parenting Village, I felt it was important for me to do the same.

I must admit to having a little extra confidence in my performance for this challenge. I’m a lot older,
and I had a life before phones. I remember what it was like to have freedom, and not be at the demand of a little box that goes ping.

I set the day of Sunday – no work calls, it should be pretty easy.

This is what happened;

It was hard. I would estimate that I had about 30 thoughts of checking something on my phone.



What should I wear today? Weather app

I just chose without knowing what the weather would be – WOW
I went to a social gathering. Camera No photos – at least not from my phone
Not sure if I remember where this place is? Google maps I guessed and made it there using a distant memory
I want to listen to a podcast on the way. Podcast App Fortunately, my car picked up my phone via blue tooth and I didn’t have to touch my phone
I wanted to check that my facebook post got released. Facebook I resisted facebook for the whole day. No real loss there – my feed is full of ads,
have lost interest anyway.
I wanted to ring my mum. Phone. I decided to call her tomorrow instead
My neighbour invited me for a catch up after being away. Text I found out at the end of the day, missed out on that little window. It will have to wait.
James wanted to hang out with his friends at the water hole – he would ring when he was ready to come home. Phone Damn it! Now I am going to have to watch out for his call. This was the only time I broke the deal.
I’ll have a quick game on my phone. Solitaire. Resisted that little time sucker! Read my novel instead.
James wanted me to check his bank account to see if he had enough money to
buy pizza with his friends. Commbank App
I reminded him of the challenge and said he would have to pay more attention to his spending. I really must get him his own profile.
WhatsApp messages – it’s the only one I allow to send notifications. WhatsApp 37 by the end of the day – geepers what’s going on!
Reading my novel – thought it would be nice to have some background music. Spotify. That would involve touching my phone – nup – going to have to enjoy the quiet.

I cannot believe how many times I was prompted to get my phone. Imagine if it had been a workday.

I always thought I had good boundaries around my phone. I didn’t realise how I have created so many habits around its use.

The next day was like catch up day – I think I used it twice as much as I normally would.

This has left me wondering what the answer is to managing this device, rather than let it manage me. I came up with the following.

1. On an impulse to get my phone – Pause, and ask if there is another way to get that need met, does it need to be done now?
2. Put it away when I get home and have a quick look at the end of the evening to respond to anything that is urgent.
3. Respond to messages twice a day – lunch time and before dinner. Teach people that I am not a quick responder.
4. Delete all games, so that when I have time – just daydream instead!
5. Bedroom and dinner table – no phone zone.

This is a start, but I suspect it will be a work in progress. I have a 16-year-old son who is watching me clearly and has a keen eye for hypocrisy, so if I’m going to share these guidelines with him, I better be on my game.

Track yourself for a day, what did you notice?

What are your self-imposed rules?

Who’s the boss of your life? You or your phone?

Our children are watching, so get conscious dear ones.


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How to Break up with your Phone
Catherine Price

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