“Over 2.7 billion people own and use smart phones which keep them connected to the Internet, social media, and other attention grabbing apps 24/7.”

Last week we started the conversation about how we as adults need to take steps to gain more control over the technology and media that surrounds us. We looked at email first and now this week we will take a look at our phones, specifically the phones we refer to as “smart”.
The smart phone is a relatively new phenomenon and it is amazing how quickly they became ubiquitous. In the world today, over 2.7 billion people own and use smart phones which keep them connected to the internet, social media, and other attention grabbing apps 24/7. There are thousands of companies today who make money from your attention and so they are very skilled at creating emotional, psychological, and addictive strategies to keep you looking at your phone. The average American currently looks at their phone around 150 times a day.
Here are some initial steps you can take to be smarter than your smart phone:
Not in the Bedroom:
Put your phone charger in a different room and do not take the phone into the bedroom with you. This will help you sleep better as the sounds and notifications will not wake you up and this also helps you not start and end your day with the phone.

One Swipe Away:
Do not put the social media and time consuming apps on the first screen of your phone. Put only the apps that are functional for you (Waze, Grab, etc). Even just putting them one screen away can lessen the level of pull they have on you when glancing at your phone.

Turn Off the Color:
Your phones have amazing screens with millions of brilliant colors to grab and hold your attention. It is possible to turn the screen to black and white and even set up a simple click of the home button to change back and forth. Instructions for how to do this can be found out on the web for the various  phone models.

Eat and Talk:
Intentionally put your phone away when eating meals and when you are with friends and family in social situations. Do not let the phone be something that distracts you from the most important people in your life. 

Do the Research:
If you are truly interested in reigning in your phone, there are plenty of articles and resources on the web to help you get started. Here is a web site I would recommend you go to first.

Next week we will take a look at social media and what we can do to stop being so social.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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