You are an addict. Your kids are addicts. It’s a family addiction. You may not even be aware of your addiction until you spend some time without your mobile device. You’ll feel anxious, like you are missing out on something. The kids find it, steal it from you and will scream and tantrum when you take it away. The kid rant in our house is, “myPhone”!

That slick smartphone beckons you with its alerts, capabilities, music, games, photos, videos, news–it’s your Mecca of media, all conveniently in one place; right at your fingertips.
A device for all ages to enjoy. For the kids, it’s great for learning games, movies for car trips, time for parents to reclaim the TV, quiet time for parents to get something done around the house, parental sanity promoter. But, I have become increasingly aware of how it’s taking away from our family quality time. We are crazy addicted to it. We need a detox.

In our household, we will do our best to minimize the time spent glued to our iPhone screens. But it’s really a tougher task than you’d think. Not to mention, is it tougher for the kids or parents to put the phone away?

Here’s what I do. In the morning, I keep my device out view from my kids. Sometimes this entails hiding it in my sweatshirt. If the kids happen to see my phone, they start barraging me with their demands, “I want minion game!”, “I want to watch a movie!”. I haven’t even gotten out of my room and it’s already spiraled out of control. I lie and say that the phone is dead, the battery needs charging. Then, I do what every good Mommy does and I turn on the TV as my distraction tactic, while I stash my phone in my bag. Then, it’s out of sight, out of mind; for us all.

But, that iPhone always wins. You can’t resist the power it has over you.

I can’t remember something I was so crazy about as a kid. Maybe I loved TV or playing video games in a similar way, but, it was easier to detach since it was not portable. The iPhone is with us, all of the time. So, it takes greater effort to not have it out and in use all of the time.

I’ve also noticed that the phone adds to my anxiety. That sinking feeling like I am missing out on the latest and greatest. It gets me all wound up–about nothing.

But, these are the 2 biggest challenges that are charged by our iPhone addiction:

Patience inhibitor–my kids are extremely impatient. Their fuses are incredibly short and it is tough for them to self-soothe and calm down. Patience is difficult enough to teach kids. The iPhone teaches the opposite of the patience values I’m trying to instill. With the iPhone, everything is available–immediately. In reality, not all things can keep that pace. It’s an unrealistic expectation. Not to mention, the most rewarding things in life do not come at the tap or swipe of a screen. (Unless I am buying something on Amazon Prime)

Disconnect and distance–my entire family can be together sitting on the couch, in a car, at a restaurant, but we are as far apart as ever. We are disconnected and sitting in the same room. No one is talking with each other. My hubby and I are tired from our work day and this is what we’ve become. We are individually engaged in the silent interactions between us and our iPhones and iPads. We are even, at times, smiling back at the glowing screen that’s filling us up. Filling us up with what? Not really with anything of true value. Sure, there is lots of news and fun stuff in that phone. But what’s invaluable that we need to shift the focus back to, and reconnect with, is sitting right on the couch, all together. It is our family. We need to do a better job putting the phones down and picking up the conversations and interactions with each other.

Now, it’s unrealistic to cut out mobile devices entirely and would be silly to suggest, in this day, and age.

I can’t put the phone down. I am just as guilty. In fact, I write my blog from a phone app. I am only suggesting to limit your mobile device time, the best that you can. In the moment that you find it trying to suck you back, to feed your addiction, instead, turn to your kids or husband or whomever, and find something else to do, with each other. While it may at first feel foreign, the rewards will be far more wholesome; your time together with your family is time you will not get back. Be mindful of your iPhone addiction and detox whenever possible by spending more time with your family. I am going to post this, and get back to my family; now.