Putting the Phone Down

Sneakers on, I strapped my daughter into her stroller and ran to my son’s preschool. Normally, I take the car to pick him up, and we were all excited for a nice walk home. Picking flowers, banging rocks, and noticing every detail around him, my son savored the walk. I, on the other hand, became a bit bored. A ten-minute walk morphed into a forty-minute walk as we stopped every few feet. Did I engage with my son as he honed his observational skills? No. Pushing the stroller with my left hand, I began googling “healthy sugar cookie recipes” with my right hand.


A good Reminder

Googling while walking isn’t a horrible thing to do, but I was convicted about it later that night while listening to my favorite podcast, Inspired to Action. In the episode I listened to the host, Kat Lee, interview Dawn Wible, founder of TalkMoreTechLess.com. Dawn shared some staggering statistics, including the fact that, on average, people check their phones 150 times each day, which equates to roughly every 10 minutes. She talked about how excessive use of electronics causes dependency and can take away from our time connecting with nature and with others.

I like Dawn’s message because she encouraged me to take small steps in order to “talk more and tech less.” She encourages people to start by keeping phones away from mealtimes and bedrooms, and she even sells a “detox box” as a reminder to put the phones away for periods of time. While I recognize that my iphone has many benefits, I also frequently feel guilty about using it when I’m with my kids.

me and e

An Unconventional form of Service

For #serveyourfamilyfriday this week, I’m encouraging you (and myself) to make an extra effort to take your eyes off of your screens and to intentionally engage with your family. After I was reminded about the benefits of doing so, I left my phone in another room for an hour, and my son and I played a fun game of basketball (I use the word “game” loosely: he never actually let me touch the ball). I was glad my phone was in the kitchen so I could truly focus on my son.

I’m planning to craft some specific boundaries to help me in this area, and if you have any tips on how to reduce screen time, I’d love to hear them!  Also, if you’d like to receive our simple ideas for service, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading this, and let’s go love people (including our family members) on purpose!

About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

10 comments on “Putting the Phone Down

  1. I agree, Kellie! Especially while playing unending games, I’m so tempted to check in “real quick.” Or, I think about a cute photo I may be missing. In reality, Bea only cares about my undivided attention, not if she can go back and look at a picture of herself playing alone. I’ve taken social media apps off my phone – I check during nap time, but it’s really limited my use. (For me, that was the easiest way to disengage…) Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  2. Thank you Annie! I really appreciate your comment, and I love your blog. I haven’t figured out my specific plan on electronic boundaries yet, but taking the apps of the phone is a great idea.

  3. I have a ‘dumb’ phone, so I don’t have the same temptations, I guess. I had a job one year where I I was supposed to check my phone every hour or so. That was actually the hardest part of that job!

    I do feel that people are looking away from others and losing real connections in life to be plugged into the latest news story or gossip. Great reminders!

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