I really enjoy technology and I am glad we have it to help us make our lives easier in many ways. However, the downside to some technology is that it so quickly enslaves us. The smart phone of course, is the perfect example. I’ve had one for nearly three years now, and thankfully I haven’t gotten close to the national average of staring at it for four hours (!!) per day. (And many people – teens and adults – spend much more than four hours on a phone!) But still, I don’t want to be someone who is always staring at their phone. I have taken some steps to keep my screen time down, but since I can always use more help, I recently got this book: How to Break up with Your Phone by Catherine Price.
This book has two parts. The first part is a wake up call to smart phone users. It gives quite a few ways to show how smart phones are addictive, harmful to our brains and thinking, get in the way of healthy sleep, and even can contribute to depression/anxiety. In fact, in some ways smart phones are like mini slot machines – a purposeful design mechanism to keep people on them. It’s been proven by studies that smart phones hurt the brain’s ability to focus for long periods of time. I can even tell this is true of myself since I got my phone: I’m much more easily distracted! It’s not a coincidence why many in the tech industry won’t let their kids have these devices until they get older. Spending a lot of time on a phone can really mess with the teenage brain!
The second part of the book is a 30-day plan to help break smart phone addictions. It isn’t radical at all. It is a slow process of training ourselves to master our phones rather than having them master us. For example, Price gives great tips like deleting social media apps and checking social media on a browser or laptop instead of an app. It’s also helpful to download a tracking app to see how long you’re on your phone and how much you pick it up each day. Price notes that even being aware of how our phones make us feel is a good step. Disabling notifications is also an important way to overcome phone addiction. The list goes on; each day there’s one small way to help a person “break up” with their phone.
This book isn’t a Christian book, and there are a few “bad” words in it (but not many). It is written very clearly and very well and it’s not overly long. The chapters are short and understandable, and the steps for breaking up with a phone aren’t complex or fanatical. I’m really glad I got this book, and look forward to how it will help me get my focus back! Yes, smart phones are useful and a great tool in many ways, and we don’t need to throw them out. But we should use self-control around them since we as Christians are stewards of the time God has given us. We don’t want to waste our life on our phones!