Should I get rid of my iPhone?

 

I loved the article “How to Miss a Childhood” that was featured a few weeks ago. It made me think and think hard about how my children are viewing me as their mother and what they think my priorities are.

I didn’t have an iPhone when my first two were born. I didn’t even have the Internet on my phone (shocking, I know.) I had a simple cell, made for taking and making calls. It didn’t accompany me everywhere I went. It wasn’t glued to my hand. It didn’t take my attention away from my babies.

It didn’t rule my day.

But somehow I became obsessed with the need for an iPhone. I justified it to death, saying it would allow me to better document our lives because of the fantastic built-in camera. It would let me work wherever I was, stay connected to family that lives outside Utah County, and allow me to quickly write and share music.

I needed one.

But I didn’t know how much that little device would affect me. Now, I’m always wanting to see what people are posting to Facebook or Instagram. What’s the weather going to be like today? Let me check my phone. Did you hear about Justin Bieber being late to his concert? I read about it on Twitter.

Hold on, little one. I’ll play make-believe right after this text.

Actor Colin Farell was on Jay Leno a few weeks ago talking about his thoughts on social media and the impact it’s had on our culture.

“You know I think it’s great. I think social media and the Internet are great, because they can bring people together, but I also think it can distance us from ourselves,” he said. “And also it can breed some awful cruelty and meanness.”

I was surprised to hear that, coming from a celebrity who makes a living being in the public eye. But I agree with him.

“When freedom of speech was calling … as a philosophy or ideology to be pursued as every human being’s right, it was a world where you had to be accountable for everything you said. There was no ‘send a pigeon’ … you were in the space, you said the words. There was no hiding behind things.”

I’ve certainly experienced cyber bullying in my life. It seems so easy — and cowardly — to write a nasty email instead of confront someone with a problem face-to-face, or to hide behind a screen name and say all kinds of mean things in chat rooms or in the comment section.

That was something that was the hardest for me to deal with after “American Idol,” in fact. I should never have gone online to read the comments on the show’s website. It really hurt my self-confidence.

I’ve seriously considered getting rid of my iPhone. I have friends that have put time limits on themselves for perusing Pintrest, blogs and Facebook. If I didn’t have an iPhone, the time I spent wondering what the rest of the world is up to would certainly diminish. Actually walking to a computer, turning it on and then spending time online wouldn’t happen as often.

I think the key to dealing with the positives and negatives of social media is really being stingy with your time — and not giving it to the void.

“It’s a really new and kind of interesting and terrifying phenomenon that’s gonna be around forever,” says Farell, “so we as human beings just need to learn how to adapt to it, I suppose.”

How do you budget your time with social media? Do you think having techinology right at our fingertips is overall a good or bad thing?

10 comments

  1. Dani

    I know people think it’s crazy that I don’t have an I-phone. I don’t even have the internet on my cell phone. While it is sometimes hard not to succumb to “peer pressure” that everybody has one, I am sticking to my guns. I also don’t have a facebook account. (Gasp!!) I pay attention to the actual world around me, not the electronic world.

  2. Danny Chipman

    I’m another Danny without an iPhone (or any kind of smart phone), and I’m just fine with that. I already pay for internet access at home–why on earth would I want to pay for it twice? I’m just sad that there are fewer and fewer “dumb phones” to choose from when I need to replace one. Still, I plan on holding out as long as possible.

  3. Cat

    Hey, I don’t have an iPhone either. I can’t really justify the cost of a data plan. I have a tablet that I love but it doesn’t have a data plan either. I’m dependent on wireless for it. But I’m OK with that. I don’t like being that connected. I don’t feel like Facebook is “communicating”. Email sort of is, but I prefer face to face or at least talking on the phone.

    Our family has technology free Sundays. No computers, tablets, x-box, Nintendo. We can watch TV but mostly we play games or put puzzles together. My teenager naps. I’ve noticed that since we’ve been doing this, the pull of the technology doesn’t seem as strong the rest of the week.

  4. Connie Bell

    Carmen, I would love the YW from my stake to be able to hear you sing and speak. Do you do such things and how can I contact you?

  5. Pete1215

    I would say that when the enticement of social media pulls one away from alternative important activity, that is the time to say to one’s self, “I have a problem”. At that point it becomes near to an addiction.

  6. citygrrl

    I just got an iphone from work. The main reason is that it will allow me to sync appointments and be able to text (I have a flip phone now, and never got into texting). I finally decided that not having a smart phone was kind of like living in the 1940s without a telephone. Some things about my new phone I find amazing — in other ways it drives me nuts.

    The appeal of Facebook completely eludes me. I figure that anything that’s important I will share with people via email, letter, phone or in person, and anything else is too unimportant to spew to a large number of “friends.” Why would anyone but those close to me care what movie I’ve just seen, or how I’ve decided to re-do my bathroom, or what color shirt I just bought? And truthfully, the people closest to me probably wouldn’t care either.

    I cut out a great poem by Sherman Alexie, a Native American writer, called “The Facebook Sonnet.” This is how it ends: “Let one’s search for God become public domain. Let church.com become our church. Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess here at the alter of loneliness.”

    Technology has its place. But if you shut people out because you have to check your phone, you’ll end up pretty lonely.

  7. Francine

    This is my last week with my iPhone 5. Traveling in the mail as we speak is a $26 gophone that I will not activate as a gophone but have my current AT&T SIM card installed. I will then cancel all data, which shouldn’t be too shocking. I have already weened myself off of Facebook and Instagram. I will have to learn how to spell again due to no predictive text. I will have to use my physical dictionary for defining words. I will go to the library with my 8 year old laptop to check email. I will read books and newspapers. Today, I want to know how the flowers smell and what sound the birds are singing. We only have so much time in this great big world. Let us go outside and learn from our surroundings and fellow humans. I believe more and more people are realizing this pull towards simplicity. PS I’m pregnant. Now, on to my walk outdoors.

  8. Joyeaux

    Francine: I am so completely inspired by your post. I am a small business owner and trying to figure out how to reclaim my life. I want to go back to life as you are describing it. I’m looking for a way to wean myself off….by June I’d like to have only one day of the week that I use my phone. If I can do that, I’ll go to a phone that only has Internet where there is wireless.
    We can all do this!! It’s not a losing battle.

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