It’s confession time. I’ve been known to joke that I check I have my phone on me before I check where my kids are, and I’m ashamed to say, it’s not an over-exaggeration. Luckily my kids are old enough to know not to wander far, but the fact they’ve seen me on more than one occasion have a borderline panic attack when I misplaced my phone for a millisecond probably isn’t a good example for how to use technology responsibly in our lives.
I’m aware of how technology affects our lives. I try to make a conscious effort to lower my phone when answering their questions, and look them in the eye, but here’s the horrible truth:
Perhaps even more disturbingly, when I look around the living room of an evening, the television is on, the adults are nursing iPhones, and the kids a range of iPods and iPads, I wonder if we’ve got things horribly wrong.
When it comes to your own travel vs technology, are your family holidays affected?
I’m not alone in thinking even family travel is held at ransom by tech obsession. Tourism and Events Queensland found in a recent survey that 80% of people admitted to texting while also talking to someone else, 53% of respondents admit to using their phone on the toilet, I’m guilty on both these counts as are most people I know. Somehow though, I don’t think my husband would be too happy if I was one of the 48% of respondents who admitted to their smartphone interrupting them during sex. Maintaining a sex life with three children is hard enough so our phones can bow out of that one.
When news hit my inbox this morning that the Sunshine Coast is aiming to become the world’s first destination to combat smartphone dependency by introducing phone free zones, it caught my attention. As a blogger caught up in the world of internet and social media, I’m guilty as charged for Instagramming my food, interrupting the kid’s enjoyment of a destination in order to capture the best photos and videos, and I can say I’m with the 65% of people who said they could never leave their phone for 24 hours.
My husband is forever nagging me that I’m too busy looking at my phone to see all the awesome scenery we drive through on our road trips, so I guess that adds me to the 48% of people who have argued with their partner over smartphone usage.
The Sunshine Coast is telling us, in order to really enjoy our lives; we must make time to consciously switch off. Talk to our partners and our friends, our children and loved ones with undivided attention. Stop and look around, breathe in the beauty of life that surrounds us, without being tempted to check our emails or post photos online.
British technology expert, Dr. Tom Chatfield says ‘this doesn’t mean that technology is something bad, or toxic, that we ought to try and give up. A better way of thinking about it is that we want to be gourmets of technology and if we love it and want to make the most of its wonderful possibilities, we should pick and choose and select and not just stuff our faces with it continually.’
Introducing the Smarter Smartphone Code of Conduct:
- Avoid being a search-it-all. Make the most of the moment and seek out your own special corner of the Sunshine Coast.
- Elbows and phones off the table. Make the most of the moment with great food and company.
- Kiss your phone goodnight. Make the most of your night with a restful night’s sleep or some romance.
- Look before you snap. Make the most of the moment and take in this truly breathtaking place.
- Take a phone-free day. Make the most of the moment and experience nature without distractions.
- Talk now, text later. Make the most of the moment and enjoy this precious time together.
- Taste before you upload. Make the most of the moment and savour every mouthful.
While it’s likely I’ll struggle to go phone-free, perhaps a trip to the Sunshine Coast is in order to help me, after all I could think of worse ways to try and combat tech addiction. The most important part of campaigns like this is the fact they make us think, they make us aware and mindful. I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I’m tired. Tired of being constantly connected, tired of being ignored by my children sitting on their devices, and I can’t complain about their behaviour when it’s a mirror of my own. It’s time to take some tech time-out, join me if you dare.