It’s true. I decided to not use my cell phone for 24 hours, and I lived to tell my story. A generation ago, this statement would be ridiculous. A cell phone is a luxury. Even as a high school student, the only cell phone I knew was the one Zack Morris carried around on the Saved by the Bell set. It looked more like a VCR than the cell phones of today. That thing was huge!
Now, technology has brought us the internet on our phones. Our phones can track the amount of steps we take, capture moments with video and pictures, and can answer your questions (by the way, ask Siri “What is zero divided by zero”, it’s hilarious). I’ve written on this before, how technology is taking over our lives. So rather than go down that negative road, let’s take a positive spin on this. What if we unplugged? What would happen? Could you live? In a recent survey of 16-22 year olds, over half said they would give up their sense of smell sooner than they would give up their phones. Yes, you just read that correctly. And don’t even get me started on the Petextrians.
You might be thinking this is such a crazy thing to do. What was I thinking? Would I be able to breathe? What happens if there was a question that only Siri could answer? Would I have to talk to my family, play with my kids, and pay attention to my surrounding? I know, this was big time.
What made me to wade into such dangerous waters? What would make me risk my technology life? Well, it started with a simple jab from my 7-year-old daughter. She asked if I would sit by her on my morning off and play games and watch her favorite show…and then she said…and not check your phone. Like a ton of bricks hitting me upside the head. It’s time Jeff. It’s time.
So, as the first man who entered space, I embarked on an adventure, not knowing if I would make it. And, I did not perish from this risky experiment. In fact, I am alive to tell you these lessons I learned from unplugging my phone…
Being Still. Those of us that have smart phones, what is the first thing you do when you are sitting still, bored, or have nothing to do? You pull out your cell phone. You finger flick through Instagram, check your fantasy football team, or check how many likes your Halloween costume selfie got in the past 3 minutes. What if you decided to just “Be Still”? When was the last time you followed God’s advice in Psalm 46:10 and just was still before God? I’m here to tell you, it’s wonderful.
You Have to Communicate. During this hiatus, my wife went to the grocery store while I was home with the kids. She knew I was “unplugged”, which meant I had no idea when she would be back. Home alone with 3 kids, and not knowing when your wife was going to be back. Ahhhh!!!! I told you it was dangerous waters. But seriously, communication becomes a larger factor, and that’s a good thing. A good reminder of how important communication is in relationships.
Quality Time. Quality time with your kids is not quality time if you have your phone out. We are good at holding this rule at the dinner table, but fail during other period of times. For example, during movie night with the kids, I purposefully will keep my phone upstairs so I can make sure the buzz or ding of the phone does not distract from the snuggles and popcorn.
Clear-Headed. There is just so much information to filter on your phones. Social media, news stories, sports information, pictures, texts, voicemail, emails…and the list goes on. Your brain needs time to refresh itself. A good 24 hour phone cleanse can be helpful.
Maybe I’m the only one that spends a little too much time on their phone. By not having a nervous breakdown after 24 hours without my phone shows me it’s not out of control. However, this time away did present some great lessons.
So, I’d encourage you to try the 24 hour challenge. You may learn your children’s names. You may not get hit by a car. You may look up long enough to see the sun is still in the sky. See, the benefits are numerous. But seriously, you may just need to be still, no WiFi and all!