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Stop Whining About Smartphone Addictions Already!

America’s Smartphone Addiction Is Now An Epidemic,” was the first Forbes article I stumbled onto today. It’s actually a snippet of information supporting the Cartoon of the Day. The article points to a study by Deloitte that claims Americans look at their smartphones more than 9 billion times daily.

Seriously?

First, I can recognize a click-bait title when I see one.

Aside from that, enough with the gloom and doom predictions about smartphone usage. It’s called personal responsibility.

Say it with me… “personal responsibility”.

Let’s stop blaming technology or anything else for our fails. I can blame my dieting struggles on the prevalence of fast food restaurants and the ease with which I can go to a drive-through and buy a burger, fries and a drink. Or I can suck it up, recognize that my behavior is to blame, go buy some groceries and make myself a meal. Do I hate cooking? Yes. So I can make myself an amazing salad or buy some healthy prepared meals. It just takes effort and taking responsibility for my actions. Because no one is forcing me to go eat at the golden arches.

The easy route is always to blame someone, something, anything. And I absolutely abhor excuses and blaming. Think about it. If we allocated the same amount of energy to fixing that we do to blaming and making excuses, most of us wouldn’t have something or someone to blame anymore.

Smartphones Give You Freedom

Smartphones have enabled people to have the freedom to be anywhere and work. I travel a large part of the year with my family cross country in our RV. It’s an amazing adventure and one I could never do without a smartphone. I can answer questions from my team while waiting in the lobby for a meeting with a client. I can take my family to the zoo and not skip a beat on emails while my husband drives us there.

One of my favorite apps to run my business is Basecamp. I can manage and view every project we have going on with every team and client we work with from my phone including tasks, meetings, messaging and updates. I can run a report on every single thing being worked on and see who has done what, give feedback, respond to messages and basically run the entire opp from my phone. It’s pretty insane and I love it.

Basecamp for iPhone
Image Credit: Basecamp

All it takes is a killer app that gives you what you need to make you more productive and the freedom to work wherever and however you like.

Smartphones Give You Information

Have I told you how much I really can’t stand to cook? This information junkie loves to learn, but cooking is not one of those things I WANT to learn to do well. I know the basics and as of this moment, barring a really cool recipe that I come across (on my phone), I generally am disinterested in learning anything new about cooking. So when it’s time to whip up a meal, I pull up my AllRecipes App, enter my ingredients on hand, and voila, a list of recipes for me to choose appears! Remember what it was like to struggle through pages in a cookbook or you file of recipes? For me it was torture, but now that information is at my fingertips.

AllRecipes Iphone App
Imagecredit: AllRecipes.com

My youngest son uses his phone for school work, for research and for entertainment. Since we travel a lot, it enables him to stay in touch with all of his friends across the country. They chat, they video chat and they play games together. It has also enabled him to stay close to his older brother who is grown and married.

Aiden taking photos of the amazing interior of the Washington State Capitol in Olympia
Aiden taking photos of the amazing interior of the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.

You Are In Control

You control exactly how much of an impact Smartphones get to make in your life and in your family’s life. As parents we sometimes choose not to allow them during mealtime from anyone. It forces us to talk to each other. And at other times, we will encourage checking the news on our phones so we can discuss what we read and what is going on in the world. In fact, it is a great conversation starter. Again, we control what impact, if any, the phones have on our time together.

My son is also monitored on what and how he uses his phone. While I am a huge fan of Snapchat and what it can do for your brand, I am first and foremost a mom. This mami isn’t about to allow her kid to be exposed to the sickos that still make the app their playground for general grossness and harassment. He doesn’t get Snapchat and that is all. If he really wants it, we can come up with a plan where he can only snap with approved profiles (ie friends and family we know). I don’t care that he can delete his snaps with them forever. Kids and people in general have conversations all the time where they say things you may not be too happy to know about. But as long as he understands the rules, like if he ever thinks of sending anything inappropriate, I will end him, then we’re good.

PCMag did a roundup of the The Best Parental Control Apps for Your Phone of 2016. Check them out and get something set up for your kid. Will it take some time to figure out? Of course. Is it worth your time? Yeppers.

If you don’t take care of business, whether it’s establishing usage rules for yourself and your family or setting up safety features for your children, then you have only yourself to blame, not the Smartphone industry.

59 Responses

  1. You’re right, it’s so easy to get sucked into checking your phone all the time but you just need to set some boundaries and most of all, stick to them!

  2. Oh my gosh, FINALLY someone said it. I am so sick of hearing how smart phones and screen time and technology are ruining everything that was ever good in the world. The truth is, for me, technology and the way it connects me to the people I care about IS what’s good about my world. I actually just wrote a blog post about this on my own site – it goes up on Saturday.

  3. I am nearly useless without my phone because it keeps me organized and I have all my reminders on it, but I definitely put limits on it as well. I only go to it with a specific purpose in mind. I don’t have Facebook, Pinterest or any other social media apps installed on it except for Instagram. And if I need to concentrate, I turn off the ringer. My phone does not rule me.

  4. I agree with your point about personal responsibility. All too often, people are more willing to blame someone or something else rather than accepting responsibility for their choices and actions. Whether it is fast food, smartphones, exercise, or anything else, it is our choice what we are going to do or not do.

  5. Well, I’m guilty of constantly using my phone. I’m hooked. A phone makes everything so easy though. I don’t think I want to give it up. My phone is my GPS, mirror, camera, info giver, calculator etc etc. etc. How did people ever survive without…. ha ha ha….

  6. Amen, sister! Personal control is key in most places of life! I agree with you on the freedom it gives those of us who like to travel! Smartphones make life so much easier, but yes!! Personal control!!

  7. I could not agree with you more! As society evolves, we will always see new developments and changes in lifestyle. As you said, people just need to take responsibility for themselves and stop the whining!

  8. Totally agree with you. It frustrates me when people blame others for their own actions, they need to take responsibility and learn some self control. And while I do have a smart phone, am not so sure about how smart it actually is 🙂

  9. Girl, I couldn’t have said it better. Yes, I have a digital “addiction” but it’s definitely NOT the fault of the phone, internet, computer, etc. I know I am the problem (I’ll be the first to admit that I lack self control).

    I think people struggle with personal responsibility and spend so much of their energy blaming others rather than the person who is REALLY the cause. Like they say, when you point a finger towards someone, there are 3 more pointing right back at you.

  10. Exactly correct on so many levels! When you point at something you have three fingers pointing right back at you. Stop blaming others and immaterial things and be responsible and take control. Own a cellphone, do not let it own you.

  11. Great post! I am always targeted as being an “addict” or obsessed when being on my phone lol. It’s my gate from work life to personal life especially for blogging myself.

  12. Ha! Totally agree! You have control over yourself . Stop blaming the technology. It’s always easier to blame anyone other than ourselves. I love my phone. And when I realize I’ve been using it to too frequently, I put the dang thing down.

  13. Thank you!!! I am so tired of hearing all the blame but no fixes. I love that this post puts the responsibility squarely where it should be: on the individual. I did not get my kids phones until they were done with school. Oh my gosh, I heard every excuse in the book as to why they should have a phone, but I held my ground on that one. That was how I limited screen time for my youngins. I know that may sound pretty drastic for some, but it’s how I did it. It’s how I took responsibility for my kids.

  14. Well said! I love my smartphone and love how it has connected me to people I love and care about. It does make things simpler.

  15. I use my phone a lot. However, I know when not to use them. Although they are useful but sometimes they can be a problem too. My kids have a time limit, however, they get bonus time if their work is done and they’ve studied for the day.

  16. I really love having a smartphone. It allows me to do so much when I am on the go that I could otherwise not access.

  17. You are so spot on. Smartphones have revolutionized connectivity! I used to be so technologically challenged and preferred my old desktop at home, but when I realized things could be so much easier with a smartphone, I never looked back. I agree with personal responsibility regarding usage and screen time. You just have to know the right time to put your phone down and spend time with family.

  18. Finally, someone who isn’t scared to say what we all are thinking! Learning self control when it comes to ALL aspects of our lives is so important- whether it is food, technology etc

  19. I feel like smartphones help us to do more than we would have been able to do 11 years ago (before the iPhone release).
    It’s not an epidemic, not at all. If it weren’t the phone there would be something taking our attention from other things, it’s just how it is.
    The smartphone is a tool and some people need it for whatever reason, just leave it be.

  20. this is very impormative. i am guilty of sitting the whole day and my husband and just work. Although, on weekdays, I plan healthy meals and grocery for budgeting. on weekdays, I go to the gym as well. on weekdays we get to splurge and eat anything haha, my daughter on the other note, only uses her gadgets 2hours on weekdays and starts after lunch on weekends. its all about control and balance.

  21. This post is interesting! Yeah, I totally agree with you. Smartphone is an incredible invention and it’s so useful. People just have to be responsible and try to control themselves when they get addicted to it. Can’t blame on the smartphone itself.

  22. AMEN! I so agree with you. I think that smart phones are one of the greatest inventions ever. They’ve made my life easier in a lot of ways and the control / addiction part really is all about how we can discipline ourselves. I like how you compared it with dieting.

  23. Totally agree. Though I see drawbacks of phones and new gadgets they are still very cool and I am super curious what else will be invented in the near future. It’s all down to taking responsibility for your own life.

  24. I definitely agree with this post!! It is our job to have self control not the smart phones. If we can’t even take responsibility for our own problems and blame everything on corporation and sam that just shows where our country is going wrong.

  25. I’m with you – I don’t know how I got by before SmartPhones came out. I remember having to always find a payphone to call home. And I don’t know where I’d be without google maps – I’m all for the freedom that smart phones have brought us!

  26. The smartphone does give you a lot of freedom and options. I use it all of the time, but people who don’t work online don’t get it. Period. And that’s okay.

  27. Love this! I think there is a fine line though between smartphones being good and well not so good. For people like us who actually use our phones for work they are a “must have” now for kids on the other hand or my parents for example lol yes it may control them just a little bit. Just saying. Great points and I do agree a lot with you!

  28. Love the wording ‘ personal responsibility’. I certainly see the benefits of smartphone usages but as you’ve stated one must be responsible about it.

  29. I try to be responsible with my screen time but I have four different businesses going plus a day job that requires me to be on call at all times. It isn’t that easy to walk away. But the kids definitely do have limits unless they are helping me with my businesses.

  30. I love using my Smartphones It many things that you can do and I enjoyed playing games, but you are right I need to limit myself especially when I’m with my family

  31. My family gets into me all the time about how much is spent on my phone. But it has everything from great money apps to people I chat with from home. It’s just the way of life for a lot of folks.

  32. I very much agree that Smartphones have enabled people to have the freedom that is very much needed to maintain their privacy and also to make sure they have everything on their fingertips when needed. But I do agree that you need to limit the usage when you are with your family or loved ones!

  33. This is by far one of the best posts I’ve read about technology. It’s all about control, you’re absolutely right. It’s our choice on how we’re going to use our smartphones. I use it for a lot of things, from communication to keeping track of my bank accounts. But that doesn’t mean I’m addicted or I use it all the time.

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