Media mogul Simon Cowell has reportedly ditched his phone for over ten months, and has been quoted to say the withdrawal from technology has been good for his mental health.
Cowell expressed how irritated he was with the quality of interaction he had with those around him, and how – ever since he ditched it – he was more aware and paid more attention to the world and people around him.
Researchers have gathered data to show that the addiction Cowell had with his phone is not limited to him only. In fact, it is so widespread, that more than half of phone users check it within 15 minutes of waking up. Four in ten people believe that our partners use the phone too much, so much so that it becomes a point of contention.
Cowell has a young son and it might have been that he realised how he was breaking off playing to check his phone everytime it beeped.
It is also not good for children to see the adults around them swarmed by technology. But it is not easy for us to ditch the phone altogether.
Employers demand their employees time and attention outside of the office by sending documents with the expectation that they will have been read by the next meeting, and then expecting things have been dealt with, or demanding their response with a text message.
Many of us, unlike Cowell, do not have executive assistants to deal with such matters on our behalf, or to filter out emails and text messages. We do not have buffers. So while we don’t want it intruding, but we can’t exactly do without it completely, we need to navigate the disconnect that proves difficult, or else our children will adopt our bad habits as the norm.
What can we do? We can try to limit the time we handle emails and text messages to specific moments in the day. Having twenty minutes twice or thrice a day to deal with all these matters does not mean a reduction in overall time, but does mean that the time away from these periods is not tainted by work-related matters and the feeling of being on-call all the time, especially when we are with our children.
When we are with our children, give them new areas of pursuit. This can be listening to music, such as Baroque music. Classical music is said to be good for the mind, while Romantic music stirs emotions. If children are not into that kind of music, other forms of music might also provide a welcome distraction, both for us and them.
Just make sure it is playing from a normal radio or similar device – not a phone!