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I’m in a relationship with my smart phone

27 Jun

Published on Mama Mia on 10/6/12

My life has slowly started to revolve around my smart phone. I first realised I had a problem when I brought my smart phone to bed with me. I set up my nest of blankets and lovingly placed my smart phone under my pillow (secretly so my husband couldn’t see it was there). I switched it on silent. My hand rested on it until I started to drift to sleep.

I woke up the next day, stretched my arms over my head and excitedly remembered that my smart phone was with me.  The first thing I did was check Twitter. Over six hundred followers – yes. I checked the weather, posted a comment on Facebook about the weather, read a couple of pages of a book I had upload and eventually rolled out of bed to get the kids ready for school.

My husband has felt resentful of my smart phone for a while now. We used to snuggle up in front of the TV watching shows together. Now I lay back on my own, tapping away. “What are you doing on that thing,” he demanded. “Twittering,” I told him. “About what,” he said. “Everything,” I responded. “Have you ever Twittered about me,” he asked. “No,” I lied.

In fact, I can’t watch TV without my smart phone. No longer happy to just yell at the TV, I post comments like….PATRICK IS AN IDIOT FOR BREAKING UP WITH NINA or OH GOOD ALICIA MIGHT GET BACK TOGETHER WITH PETER. I commented that PRICKLY PEARS TASTE REALLY NICE, during Masterchef and that was all in one night. It’s unhealthy and ridiculous. I need an intervention.

I pay my bills on my smart phone. I work on my smart phone. I shop on my smart phone. I diagnose medical issues on my smart phone. I offered to pay a bill for my dad on my smart phone once. He looked at me like I’d kicked the dog. He still walks up to the post office to pay his bills.

My smart phone has apps that know me better than I know myself –my calendar, ‘to do’ lists, an app that tells me when my period is due (next Tuesday), my meal planner and the network of ‘friends’ I’d never keep in touch with if it wasn’t for my smart phone.

I’ve started having to put my smart phone on the back seat of my car while driving. The temptation to check my emails or send a message while stopped at a red lights is just too great.

When I can’t find my smart phone I panic. My stomach clenches, cold sweat drenches me. I call it and call it until I find it (in the toy box, next to the toilet, under the lounge – thanks kids).

It doesn’t make sense! I haven’t had a smart phone for long. I’ve only had it this year. Without it I am half a person. I am inefficient, isolated and miserable. And my poor, forgotten laptop which used to be in the place of my smart phone (but not under my pillow) can do nothing but sit on my desk hoping I remember how much easier it is to type on a full sized keyboard.

I’ve started wondering if I could do a smart phone detox. One or two days a week during which I am not allowed to touch it. I’d crack, for sure. Just like my attempts to give up coffee I’d last until about 10.30am at most before I became irritable and cranky and my family practically begged me to take it up again.

There are people who don’t even own smart phones. They are like aliens to me.

Kids and iPhones – it’s all about balance

25 Jun


My eight-year-old completely freaked me out with an “Your iPhone Screen Looks Broken” app a couple of weeks ago, my four-year-old is obsessed with the bowling app and my two-year-old girl plays the Dora Memory Cards game. I’m not proud and I am aware that their time on my iPhone needs to be monitored and limited. In an effort to ensure the next school holidays isn’t a tech-free-for-all I dusted off the games I purchased before the last school holidays – Twister, Monopoly, Guess Who, Uno and Cards. I even found Jacks!

This school holidays I am determined…my kids will not spend more than an hour a day TOTAL on computers, iPhones, iPads or any device with the word “Nintendo” on it.

This is going to be a massive task.

As was pointed out to me this morning, parents are busy. It takes time and effort to engage with your kids and make sure they are indulging in a variety of activities and Winter is the worst time for this. Please don’t rain during the school holidays!

We also have chalk to draw on the concrete out the back, water paints and my husband bought them new soccer balls which I plan to kick around the park with them.

I’ve never been a parent who likes to ban activities. I prefer to encourage and discuss. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. So far it has worked but I suspect that as they get older it will become more challenging.

I know I definitely never want them to spend time alone in their rooms on any device that connects them with others (computers, iPads, iPhones). They can do it in the living room where I can monitor them. I am happy for them to be tech-savvy but I never want them to be tech-dependent.

It’s a balancing act and the balancing act is constantly being reassessed.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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