Have Smart phones really made us more productive?

The other day I was busily typing away at my computer. Between thoughts I looked up and noticed that every single person in my family was on an electronic device.
I said, “GUYS!…”
A few answered but no one looked up.
We give our kids only 15 minutes a day to play games on electronic devices but for those few minutes they are completely tuned in to the device and checked out of reality.

I have a love / hate relationship with my cell phone / ipad / computer.
Let’s be honest, sending a text message is one of the most quick and convenient ways to “bottom line” a message without all the fluff (when you really have something quick to say)…and that GPS Navigation app has saved my husband countless times from having to swallow his pride and ask for directions from the gas station clerk.
I could go on…

On the other hand, I believe cell phones have really damaged our world in countless ways.  I came across this video which put perfectly in to words my fears about our devices.

The bottom line is that the majority of us don’t have the self discipline to know when to turn them off, me included. They are a like a drug we can’t put down. You start by picking it up and doing something seemingly important, next thing you know you’re scrolling through nonsense and “keeping up with the Jones’”.

A while back I did something really dumb and let my 2 year play with my cell phone when I really needed him to be quietly entertained at the bank one time. From that point on he was hooked. Not only him, but I too was hooked on having a convenient babysitter available at a moments notice. Hard to admit this but cell phones, ipads, computer games are the favored activity at our house. When kids see parents looking down on their phones 10+ times throughout the day they learn through example, that is an acceptable behavior.  I’m not saying we should delete our FB, Twitter and Instagram accounts…that would be malarkey.
Or would it?

Steve Jobs is a man I have a tremendous amount of respect for.  He invented the ipad with the intent to make the world more productive.  Now that he’s gone and likely has a “big picture” view from where he’s at, I wonder if he realized how unproductive we’ve become with all our devices?

My oldest son has been saving his money for almost a year with the intent of purchasing an Ipod.  I have a lot of fears about it but it’s something that’s mostly likely inevitable and our opportunity to teach him how not to get sucked in to technology era.  Can we do it?

My husband and I decided it was time to put a stop the the electronic device nonsense in our home. During a recently “family home evening” (aka family council) we took a good hard look at our E.D. usage and how that was effecting our family.  As a family we asked ourselves some tough questions:
-What real benefit are we getting from our electronic devices?
-How much time is acceptable to spend on our E.D.’s?
-If you are on an E.D. and someone enters the room or wants to talk to you what should you do?
-What E.D. activities are acceptable/unacceptable?
-What apps can we delete?
-Where are appropriate and inappropriate times and places to use an E.D.’s?
-Are there times when we could leave our cell phones at home?

As a family we’re taking a pledge to power down our electronic devices.
This doesn’t mean we’ll be turning them off completely but as a family we have established a set of acceptable guidelines when it comes to the usage of our phones, ipads and computer.

What are your thoughts about our society’s electronic device usage?

Comments

  1. Great commentary. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Amen, Sistuh!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I refuse to get a smartphone and I have had people make the rudest comments about not having one! I refuse to love in an “app” based world. Don’t all of you realize that there is a “price” for adding an app even if it comes to you at no cost/free? The main purpose of an app is to track the user, not to help the user.

    Do you realize that you and your children’s actions, choices, requests, purchases, etc. made through an app are being logged, monitored and sold? When you turn on the “tracking” device or gps, any entry-level hacker can gain access to you and track you as well? I am not willing to give anyone such access to me or my movements, let alone my children’s…and yet, more and more children at an ever increasing younger age are allowed to have cell phones.

    WHY?

    As parents, we are giving very bad people permission to track and stalk our children and ourselves…stop giving phones to kids, stop and think before you “allow” your phone permission to broadcast your location(s). Instead of uploading a continuing series of “apps”, start problem solving and thinking for yourself. By giving our next generation these tools, we are not teaching them to process information and problem solve for themselves. When the power goes out and the devices are not working, could they take care of themselves? Could they navigate the streets by sight alone to get to safety or back to their home? Could you?

    • Yes, yes, yes. I will forever use my “dumbphone”, and my family benefits from it. No thanks to tracking and using my info. in ways that should not be allowed. We are such a technology dependent society that many are almost paralyzed without it. I think it has honestly made us a dumber society because we can’t do anything on our own anymore.

  4. I’m probably one of the last remaining few, but I haven’t gotten a smart phone yet for the sole reason that I just don’t trust that I could leave it alone. :( I feel like once I get one, there’s likely no going back…. so it’s flip phone forever for me. Props to everyone who has a smart phone and has found a balance.

  5. Thank you for sharing this!!! This is a crazy world that we all live in and I hope that I personally can get better at the ED usage (powering down more). I get annoyed at myself when I am on my devices and I can see that my children see what I am doing and that kind of breaks my heart. I have small children and we do not allow use on devices other than taking photos on our phones, but devices are everywhere! I would be very interested to hear more about how your family works through this in the future!

    • It’s a tricky situation. Once exposed, all they want to do is play games. It’s a balancing act. I’ll for sure have to do a follow up to see how we work through it.
      Best to you, Michelle :)

  6. My daughter was 12 by the time we got our first computer (this was back in the day lol) and I’m glad now she was able to have a childhood without that kind of technology. Though she sure got the hang of it very quickly, like any other kid. I’ve often wondered about present day young families and how they keep technology within reasonable limits, when it’s everywhere and they see other kids playing games on phones & ipads. My stepdaughter always has her phone in her hand, even at the dinner table and I don’t agree with that at all, but I leave that up to her parents to decide. I think in the long run we are going to see some issues with this next generation constantly being plugged in, and unable to just hang out & day dream a little, read, create, in the real world. I wonder if the world’s great doctors, scientists, artists etc…are they on social media much or are they too busy creating & making new discoveries?

    • Couldn’t agree with you more Holly. Just today I have put the ipads away permanently. They were causing so much arguing and frustration even with limits. I think they hinder them from dealing with real life.

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