It was my stepfather’s, and after he died the company forced my mother to buy the phone out (don’t get me started). Rather than seeing the phone go to waste, I took it over.
There have been some definite benefits to having one:
- We are no longer surprised by traffic jams (this was the major reason Q. and I knew we would eventually need to get a smartphone)
- I read (note: not answer) my emails more frequently
- I keep up with my blog reader (although I am not great at going the extra step to comment)
- I chat with my sisters on WhatsApp pretty much every day
- I can send photos of E. and P. to the Australian rellies via our WhatsApp group chat and get photos of their Australian cousins in return (I can’t text picture messages internationally so this has been very useful)
- I take more photos, especially when we’re out of the house
- I take more videos of the kids
But I’m very aware that there are also some not insignificant negatives to introducing this new element of technology into my life:
- The phone is always RIGHT THERE waiting for me to look at it. I’ve adjusted the settings so it doesn’t make any noise unless someone is actually calling me, and I’ve limited which apps are allowed to send me notifications, and I’ve refused to install any games or Fakebook, and I STILL have to watch myself because it is so easy to pick it up and suddenly you’ve wasted ten minutes. I have to be especially conscious of this when P. is awake or when E. is home from school. It’s like those experiments with rats where if the rat pushes a button it gets food- if the rat only gets food some of the time it will actually push the button more often than if it gets food all of the time- so you compulsively check your phone (or your Fakebook news feed or Feedly) because there MIGHT be something new.
- I get lazy and take photos inside with it rather than doing the work with my big camera. The camera in the phone is not bad but my good camera is much much better if I put the time in.
- I think I was a better navigator when I used real maps. Possibly this will improve as I get better with understanding the apps, but I know I have really annoyed Q. with multiple last minute “oops- that’s our turn!” statements over the past few months.
- It’s been really really bad for my anxiety to have Chrome at my fingertips. I bought my laptop when I was pregnant with E., in December 2010. It has no battery life whatsoever and has to be plugged in at all times to work. It is slow and loud (because the fan has to run all the time) and it heats up my legs (because the running fan doesn’t seem to be effective). To do anything on the laptop takes effort. I almost never turn it on during the day with the kids because it a) takes ages to get anything done and b) is this really obvious screen that is eating my attention. But Chrome on the phone is so easy! So if you want to, say, Google, “Does my baby have cerebral palsy” or “Signs of autism in a five-year-old”, it takes ten seconds! And then you go deep down the rabbit hole of crazy. And that’s without even reading anything political.
I’ve made a conscious decision to STOP GOOGLING when on the phone, which has significantly helped. Overall, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, but it’s clear to me that I need to exercise caution with how I use it. I don’t want it to start using me.
Do you also have a love-hate relationship with your smartphone? How do you balance the benefits of having technology at your fingertips with the phone’s addictive potential?
This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.