On taking a Facebook break and fighting phone addiction

Last Sunday (Sept. 15) I started what I am calling a “phone detox” and at least a two-week break from Facebook. I knew I was spending way too much time checking “what’s new” on Facebook, seeing what friends were doing, sharing funny (or not-so-funny) memes, and generally wasting time. And 90% of the time I was doing this on my phone. During the evening. When I should be focusing on my wife, even if we are watching TV together. I knew I needed to be more “present” and not tethered to my phone.

Photo of a man's hands, tied together by a phone charging cord attached to a phone, illustrating the addictive hold our cell phones have on us.And then I read a post by Joshua Becker about cell phone addiction. Unfortunately, I know more than a little about addiction (and addiction is much more than drugs or booze, but that’s another post) and this post was a slap-in-the-face wake-up call for me. Things I had been sensing came into focus and I realized I had a problem.

Just the opening of Becker’s post was staggering:

These cell phone addiction statistics are quite overwhelming:

And the impact of this usage is staggering:

Wow! No wonder time seemed to keep slipping away from me. And that impact list might as well be my life story – conversation quality affected, short-term memory issues, messed up sleep patterns, obesity, and depression. Yep, each one of those affects me in some manner or degree. (Looks like I have a lot of future posts already lined up.)

I decided that enough was enough. Now, something else is also going on in my life right now as the Holy Spirit is drastically changing a lot of things about me, and my relationship with Jesus has taken a major step forward. And this phone addiction revelation fit in exactly with things I am learning from God on this journey. And I realized that letting my phone control me to this degree was letting an idol control me. And the only thing I want controlling me is Holy Spirit power.

So I declared to God that I would put my phone away, except for important phone calls or messages, every evening when I was finished with work. And I also decided to take that break from Facebook. Eventually, I’ll have to resume some Facebook activity due to work I do with Oyler Creative, and to share these posts (y’all feel free to share this one however you see fit), but for two weeks, I am stepping away from the mess that is Facebook land. And you know what? I haven’t missed it at all. No drama, no hatred being spewed, no disturbing stories, no memes. It has been a refreshing break.

I’m not going to let my phone or social media rule my life. And evenings are now much less stressful. I am free to devote all of my attention to my wife and whatever we may be doing.

And that is my story of my Phone Detox.

Grace and Peace, y’all…

2 Comments

  1. Joseph Dickson on September 24, 2019 at 12:47 am

    My favorite tricks to limit phone distraction is to turn off notifications on all apps except text and calls.

    When safe and practical I switch my devices to silent.

    Its tough a first but the notifications will still be there whether you are alerted to them or not.

    Some other things I do.

    Turn off my phone at night and I don’t turn it on until after breakfast. Admittedly I do have a land line so I know if there’s an emergency people can still get a hold of me.

    • Paul T. Oyler on September 24, 2019 at 8:02 am

      Thank you for those ideas, Joseph! I agree on turning off the notifications. They will drive me crazy if left on. If I know an app has any kind of notification feature, I’ll disable every time unless it is something that my clients might use to alert me to an issue with their website.

      Turning my phone off at night doesn’t work as well for me as we don’t have a landline, and with out-of-state family, some with medical conditions that could be serious, I have to have it on. But I do have custom ringtones for each, and I have the do-not-disturb feature set so that after a certain time, only calls from my immediate circle of contacts will go through.

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