Okay hear me out - yes, there is an endless amount of things we need to keep track of, whether it be emails from your boss, errands that need to be run, grocery lists, school events, piano practice, etc etc etc. The list goes on and on and our phones make those lists easier to keep track of. Our restless, stressed minds benefit from a little organization. But there is a dark side to these gadgets that we all know is there, whether we like to admit it or not. Phones have an addicting quality that can very well change the way our minds process information. The good information: the likes on instagram, the Facebook messages, the onslaught of products from our favorite stores that lure us in with their fit models and seemingly good discounts - release instant dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter chemical in charge of monitoring our reward and pleasure centers. Basically every time we get a notification on our phones, we get a rush of pleasure - which 9 times out of 10, is a pretty addicting feeling. Just now, without even thinking about the fact that I’m writing about the addictive quality of our phones and why that is, I checked my phone for notifications. Its instinctual at this point, and I don’t think I am the only one who feels somewhat powerless to its dopamine filled aura.
BUT for the sake of our children’s developing minds and future habits, I think we owe it to them (and ourselves), to choose our time and our habits wisely. What we do, both indirectly and directly affects who our children grow up to be. If I am taking so much time out of my day to stay connected to this thing in my hands, rather than the living beautiful budding human right in front of me, what is that teaching them? That human interaction is disposable. That the moments captured on my phone are more important than the actual moments I’m breathing in with my family. That it is okay for them to be checked out of the current moment and checked into an alternate reality where ‘likes and followers’ fabricate happiness.
Obviously it is not that simple, and the effect these technologies are having on our kids is not black and white. There is so much good and so much bad. But if we started taking strides to understand the harm it does and in turn minimize it’s damages, we will feel better about our day to day lives sans a slew of lit up dopamine buzzes and tings.
My challenge for you is this: when you have no reason to be on your phone, no responsibilities forcing you to read emails and checklists, place your phone in a room that you are not in. Observe how this affects your behavior - how many times you go to reach for it only to realize it
is not there, how many times you hear a sound and hope it is your phone buzzing. This will show you how deep in you are, and the ways in which you should strive to rewire your brain. And then, with some self discipline continue this exercise every day until your phone is no longer attached to your hip and your mind thinks a bit more clearly.
You got this, I’m right there with you!