Why I’m choosing to disconnect

In today’s society, nearly everyone has a smart phone.  From the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed (and even not then, sometimes), they are connected to a  huge network of people.  Anyone they’ve ever known, and many they’ve never met.  Instagram, twitter, Facebook, constant access to emails, texts, phone calls.  You name it.  I’ve seen constant mentions of this in the news as well as some research they’ve started to do on the effects of constant networking.

Saturday when we were on the train, the son got hungry so I walked down to the concessions car to get him some food.  And I kid you not, well over 50% of the people I walked by were on their phones.  Not just using the cameras to take pictures but scrolling through this website or that, completely oblivious to the scenery passing by outside the windows.

Are you kidding me?  You paid to be taken on a scenic tour in a historical train, you’re spending time with your family, and you’re missing all of it?

Yesterday, we took the kids to the children’s museum.  I was sitting with the daughter while the hubby and son played with balls and a suction machine (like the one that takes your money at the bank).  A woman was sitting behind me playing on her phone.  Her son came up to her to ask for some water.  Her response?  “Oh my goodness, you are being so obnoxious.  We came here to play but you keep coming and annoying me!”  I wish I was making that up.  I’m the first to admit that I sometimes get sucked in by my phone, but getting upset when your kid interrupts you to ask for water?  Come on.  (And before you get all over my case for being judgmental- which ok, I am- she was playing Words with Friends.  Which can be set down for 2 seconds.)

Over a month ago we switched phone plans.  I still have a fancy smart phone, but I chose a plan that costs me $10 a month in return for not being able to access the web unless I’m within range of wi-fi.  I thought this was going to be tough.  The reality is I haven’t missed being able to Facebook while running errands, or check my email 20 times a day.  The only time it has been a problem is if I’m at the store needing to look up a recipe or something.  Then I call the hubby instead.

However, even with the limited access, it has truly been hard to stop the compulsive checking for calls and texts.  I mean, seriously, I don’t need to check for texts every 20 minutes.  I’m not that popular!  (And that’s a good thing!)

So now I’m leaving my phone behind.  When I’m with my kids, I don’t have my phone on me.  They have my undivided attention.  Maybe some people are good at providing undivided attention with their phones in hand.  I am not.  And I don’t want to be one of the people so afraid of missing the latest status update that I miss witnessing the passing scenery, or seeing my kids smiles, or whatever is in front of me (just beyond the screen).

Therefore, if you send me a message or call me and I don’t respond immediately, I apologize.  I’m still around, and I will get back to you.  But not until me and the son are done with our puzzle.