For many years, my husband and I were cautious in avoiding addictions in our lives. We’ve personally held the conviction not to allow our bodies to become dictated by our own desires. This also includes addiction to things like caffeine, sugar, and overeating. And it hasn’t always been easy. We’ve had to be intentional, because we know the tendencies to become addicted in these areas.
If you’re addicted to your daily dose of caffeine, this isn’t a blog to bash you. I’m not condemning you. We’ve just personally chosen to not allow our bodies to become addicted to anything. Period.
But there is one area that’s often overlooked when guarding against addictions. And that was the case with myself. The phone.
The quote from king Solomon,“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” seems like it could have been written about our electronics and phones in 2018! Our smart phones are all but ingrained in our skin, and seems to have become this “friend” rather than God.
Is there anyone else out there who’ve seen someone literally destroying their lives with electronic addictions? That’s right. Addiction. If you haven’t realized, social media and electronic usage has an addicting component. And it’s likely affecting you more than you know or are willing to admit. I know that was the case for me.
The pull of media and electronics is strong. Vast wealth of information is right at our fingertips. And my eyes continue to be opened to why we’re addicted to our phones and social media. There really is a psychological explanation. (See the links)
Dopamine is considered the pleasure-seeking hormone. Dopamine encourages us to seek information, learn, and move through our world. God created this as a good thing!Dopamine is what fuels our bodies to keep searching for information. It’s that rewarding feeling you get after you’ve set a goal and finally reached it. Or that good feeling after a strenuous, physical workout. Or when you receive a reward for a job well done. Dopamine is responsible for our mental clarity, researching, attention, sleeping, mood, motivation, and reward.
However, when you’re struggling with phone addiction, you find yourself in a dopamine-induced loop. Dopamine is what causes you to begin seeking information. You are rewarded for the seeking, which increases your dopamine level. This in turn makes you want to seek more. It becomes a cycle that can be hard to break. You’ll go from checking your emails to your texts messages. Then you’ll scroll Facebook and Instagram. Next thing you know, you’ve spent an hour in a social media coma. For some, it can be several hours.
My friend, it’s time to lay down your phone. (And other electronic devices!) And here are some of the reasons why:
Phone addiction makes your virtual world more important than those around you. How many times does a family member or friend come into a room, and you fail to even acknowledge their presence? They may even talk to you, but you’re so zoned out that you don’t even hear them. My friend, this is not normal behavior. If someone speaks to you and it’s frustrating that they are pulling you away from your device, that can be a warning sign of addiction.
Phone addiction allows your phone to rob you. Did you know that you’re daily being robbed from many precious moments right around you? You fail to see and appreciate them. You’re living in an electronic stupor that’s more fantasy than reality. Not only are you missing out on precious family moments, but you’re also “short-fused” with your family. You have the tendency to think you’re missing out when you’re not engaged in social media.
Phone addiction makes your phone your “go to” when you need a break from stress or your chaotic life. The similarities of electronic addiction and other addictions are significant. Any addict will tell you they are more prone to turn to their addictions, during times of stress or when they feel overwhelmed. Whenever we turn to any action, object or person to fill a need that only God can truly fill, we are creating idols and addictions.
Phone addiction blinds you to how it’s destroying your relationships.
When you simply lay down your phone, your marriage will improve. Your children will more readily share their hearts. Your friends will become more meaningful. And you will be much more approachable. Even to your toddler.
I don’t want electronics to be my children’s babysitter. Parents need to be able to get away and refresh. But when we’re with our children, we need to be fully present.
Phone addiction causes you to be much less productive. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man on the job, working mother, or a stay at home mom. You will be more likely to fail in your area of expertise when you are distracted by your phone. And as a stay at home mom, that’s an area I really can’t afford to fail in. After all, when I fail as a mom, it not only affects me. It greatly affects and impacts the lives of each of my children. I cannot risk being addicted to my phone.
When you’re struggling with phone addiction, you crave the social reinforcement that should only be felt from real, meaningful relationships. It’s obvious that we all desire positive interactions and feedback. But it can be easy to find our validity by the amounts of “likes,” shares, and retweets we receive. However, the applaud and favor of others is nothing compared to the favor and blessing of God.
My friend, it’s time to lay down that phone. And in doing so, you will experience greater satisfaction in life. Greater creativity and mental clarity. Being less self-focused.
Let’s stop allowing this 4×6 piece of electronic to control our life. How will we ever help our children learn to face the challenges and addictions of social media and electronics if we don’t first rescue ourselves from this electronic tyranny?
It’s time to lay down our phones!
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)
More resources on electronic addiction: