Parents and smart phone addiction

Amanda needs help conquering her love affair with her iPhone

By Amanda Factor
Parents and smart phone addiction

Credit: oj2005

I love my iPhone. If I had to do a conservative estimate, I would guess I check it about a bajillion times a day. I am living proof that “fear of missing out” is a real thing. What if I ignore my phone for an hour and some kind of breaking news thing happens? What then???

But the madness needs to stop. I know for a fact that I don’t read as much as I used to (I have a borrowed copy of The Help on my bedside table begging to be finished). Even when I partake in one my all-time loves – movie-watching – I find myself scrolling through my Twitter feed. Nowadays my cats just glare at me, as if to say “Pay attention to us you jerk.”

So I ask the Today’s Parent Facebook fans if they had any tips for me. Here’s how some of you combat constant checks of your smart phone:

“Make sure that it's tucked away in your purse when you're driving. I don't care what anybody says, the temptation is always there to check your email or Facebook or text while you're driving (red lights, stop signs, et cetera). Those who deny it are lying, so your first step is to put it away.” –Dina

“The easiest thing I've found is to set a time at night where you either turn it off for the day, or stop checking it.” –Lee

“I put it away on the weekends. If my family is all together there's no need for either my husband or I to be tracking each other down.” –Louise

Good tips! I’m seriously considering imposing a “no iPhone after X time” rule on myself. One of my worst habits is checking my phone before bed, a task I’m sure does not contribute to calming me down and helping me fall asleep. Reading would be way better.

Facebook commenter Lisa had this to say: “It makes me sad to see parents ignoring their kids for the sake of playing with their smart phones.”

Managing editor Nadine Silverthorne admits that sometimes her kids angrily ask her to put away her BlackBerry. But she has some thoughts on how her smart phone actually helps her be a more engaged parent:

“Back when I had a four-day-a-week work arrangment, the smart phone made it possible for me to be offsite with my kids, yet available to field questions from the office. It helps me to manage tasks (I quickly type them in via the Tasks option) so that I don't forget that genius ideas (inspiration often strikes when I'm with my kids) or to buy milk.”

Blogger/editor Haley Overland (who says she can’t wait to get away from her new iPhone at the end of the day) chimes in:

“It makes me more of an engaged parent in the sense that I can better balance my life. I can check email or do work while waiting for my daughter’s dance class to get out, for example. I can video my kids anytime! And my whole music library is available to them at anytime -- they always ask for 'Glee, Mama!' when we're in the car...!"

Are you addicted to your smart phone? How does it help you be a better parent?

Photo by oj2005 via Flickr.

This article was originally published on Nov 15, 2011

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