Why I am on an iPhone Detox

For those of you following my whereabouts over Facebook, you may know that my phone was stolen while my family and I were in Israel last week. Well, technically it was lost, and then stolen. I left it in a cab for which I paid cash and didn’t get a receipt. There’s no way to track down the driver in a city where there are 2,000 cabs that look just like this: 

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Anyway, it had my and my husband’s phone numbers as well as a friend’s address taped to the back, so it would have been easy to return.  But, instead of returning it, it appears that the driver made another choice. We physically followed the phone’s whereabouts through the Find My iPhone app where we ended up in a lab inside a bustling Jerusalem building where they purchase iPhones and use them for parts. Ouch.

So, I just have two words to say to our cab driver: Thank you.

Here’s why:

For a long time I was one of those people who resisted iPhones. My husband bought an iPhone way back when when I was still happily using my flip phone. I really enjoyed not being beholden to anything I was carrying around and generally didn’t even like answering the phone. I enjoyed being in charge of my own airspace, so to say.

But, then, as a musician, I started spending increasingly more time on social media interacting with friends and fans. It seemed to make sense to get a smart phone so I could continue those conversations throughout the day. But, still resisting the iPhone, I got a Droid, which was a huge step up from the ol’ flip phone but not life-altering. 

When that died last spring, I made the leap to the iPhone, which I must tell you isawesome (and potentially life-altering).  

Because, here’s what happened: Over the last six months, something changed. I used to have good boundaries between work and family but that all crumbled since I got my iPhone. Do you know what? I am always on my phone, or near it, or checking it, or about to check it, or thinking about checking it.  Bored for one second? Check Facebook. A text just came in and I need to tend to it.  Just got an Instagram notification that someone liked my picture! Someone’s calling. Oh, let me just order something quickly on Amazon. Wait, Who sang that song, again? Let me just google it.  What’s the weather in the mountains now? Gotta just take this quick picture… 

It really never ends. I’m going insane. 

This is the worst part: with my first two children, I was a very present parent, playing and reading to them but now when I’m home with my three year old I’m about half there, constantly texting or emailing on Facebooking or whatevering. And do you know what? That is really not OK. 

So, I’ve been on a phone detox for over a week now. Since we got home, I’ve been using this guy:

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Yes, I love it. And, yes, my kids love having me back. And I love having me back.

But I did buy a new iPhone and I do plan to start using it again soon. After all, it is super-functional. But, I will only do so with some major new boundaries, such as:

1. No notifications. I’ll check in on my schedule.
2. Absolutely no phone involvement of any kind while driving. Am I a complete moron? Who would drive around their kids while being half involved with their phone? I used to be so strict about ignoring my phone while driving and have slipped dramatically on this this year.
3. I need to have a few daily check-in times for social networking both on my computer and phone. That’s it. I’m really not that important. 
4. Stop taking so many damn pictures of things in my daily life to create stories about. I’m really not that important. Or interesting. 
5. Help! What else can I do to make this successful?? Im not sure I’m ready to switch back yet. Please give me suggestions in the comments below!

Here’s to using technology reasonably and in ways that enable us to be more present and engaged with what’s really important!

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3 thoughts on “Why I am on an iPhone Detox

  1. I feel the same way about iPhones, that’s why I don’t have one. I did break down and get an Android tablet (the cheaper alternative to an iPad) because I was getting tired of carrying around my laptop for little trips to my parents house for shabbat (I need it for recipes on Friday afternoon and then not feeling like the only one who wasn’t plugged into something on Saturday night). I also print directions to PDF on it, so that I’m “saving paper.” I put that in quotation marks because I’m positive my gadget has larger carbon footprint than all the directions I’ll ever print out in my life, but every little bit that soothes my conscious, right? Oh, and the first thing I did after setting up my tablet: turn off all the alert sounds! Now it’s like a paperback sized laptop and not a beeping, buzzing, demanding thing.

  2. Yes, turning off the beeps, buzzes and pings is huge. It’s all about figuring out ways for technology to help us rather than – as you say – “demanding things.” Keep having fun with Ben – that’s what it’s all about!

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