My Smartphone Epiphany
Updated: May 2, 2019
On a recent holiday to South Australia, I discovered that I had a love/hate relationship with my mobile phone. I loved that it enabled me to connect with my friends and family, but I despised the attention it demanded.
My mobile phone brings me elements of joy, it honestly does. But I also truly dislike the relationship I have with it.
I enjoy the fact that I can speak with family in Singapore via WhatsApp, at any time of day and connect with friends and family in the United Kingdom via Messenger, with complete ease. I love a good Facebook deep dive, Instagram binge session and a 24/7 quick ABC News check.
I also enjoy the fact that I no longer need to rummage through my bottom kitchen drawer to find the local Thai menu, I just search it up on Google. That’s a win for everyone, because that drawer is like a hoarder’s heaven and better left undisturbed.
I have never been the best at using maps, and the Melway ‘may’ have been thrown out of my car window in utter fury, one too many times. But this is not an issue anymore, as Siri can help me navigate my way around the backstreets of Melbourne. A win for everyone on our roads.
If you need a question answered for your essay, just consult Google. If you want a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow, you can use the online booking site. Everything, as instant as a thought. And, I’m realising, this isn’t for me.
This is our new existence and most of us are perfectly fine with this. But I’m not and I discovered on my recent holiday, I quite like the absence of my phone. When the internet is not an option, your smartphone becomes just that, a phone.
A recent study conducted by www.bankmycell.com found that the average smartphone user checks their phone 47 times a day and uses it for 2 hours and 51 minutes a day. 80 per cent of people check their phone before bed and 35 per cent check it within five minutes of waking up.
Statistics indicate a very clear link between an increase in anxiety and smartphone use. And whilst this might seem extreme, recent studies by www.bankmycell.com show the average person taps, swipes and clicks their phone 2617 times a day. If we don’t have arthritis in our fingers and wrists already, we certainly will in years to come.
In light of my revelation, I’ve began a new relationship with my phone. I’ve been actively trying not to use it when I’m with others, when I’m engaged in another activity such as working, parenting, family time, watching tv and before I go to bed.
This has not been easy. It felt like I was going through a massive break up. I felt lost when it wasn’t by my side. I felt unsure about my safety if I ventured out without it, which is absurd given my phone is not going to save me during a brazen attack. Two hands are a better defence than one.
I have regained my freedom and I no longer feel so tied to my smartphone. I can live without it and recently forgot to take it with me a few times.
The relationship I had formed with my smartphone wasn’t healthy. It had become a security blanket and used during times when silence and boredom is perfectly okay. When pockets of piece and moments of nothing re-enter your life, something strange begins to happen.
That awful ‘hurried’ feeling disappears. That unnerving feeling of urgency around needing to respond, to answer, to search, to comment, to check and check again, goes. And what happens next is a feeling of control and a sense of calm.
I’m putting it out there and encouraging everyone to genuinely assess the relationship they have with their phone. If you are feeling like your phone is demanding more from you than you would actually like, try breaking up with your device and implementing some firm boundaries.
At the end of the day, how you choose to fill your moments is up to you. But I ask you this, when you last swiped through your Facebook or Instagram feed, what did you see? Can you recall the last 10 posts you liked or commented on? I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to remember them. Those moments spent tapping and clicking, were moments taken away from creating your own memories.