How to Break Up with Your Phone (part 1)

book review screens May 15, 2019


When I saw this book sitting at the store, it called my name and I knew it would be my next read. It also came at the perfect time during our Foundations online coaching course. We are spending time during this module exploring how screen time affects our ability to be present as parents and also how it affects our parenting itself (increase in fears, doubts, and insecurities). There was no better time to consider "breaking up with my phone" than now.

I plan to read a couple chapters a week and post about the read here on the blog. Please grab a copy  and join me as we read the book and create some positive changes in our relationship with our phone and mobile devices. 

This first week we will read the "Open Letter to my Phone" and the Introduction chapter. 

The author, Catherine Price, is passionate about "using [her] background as a science journalist to help people question their assumptions and make positive changes in their lives—particularly when it comes to their relationships with technology." 

When I work with parents, we bring the focus back to our values and consider if our life is in alignment with our values. We do this by adding intention to our home environments, rhythms, schedules, and what of the adult world we allow "in" to our children's lives. 

It is easy to feel like we are living our days one after the other without any real intention, focus, or goal. Part of simplifying is becoming aware of how we want our life to look. I know I want my life to involve less wasted time on devices. I know I want to approach my time on screens with more intention. I know I want to be less distracted and more present for my life and my children.

Price opens her book with an "Open Letter to My Phone." It kind of hurts to read it, I'll be honest. 

"We are inseparable now, you and I. You're the last thing I touch before I go to bed and the first thing I reach for in the morning...These days I can't even remember the last time I was bored. Then again, i can't remember a lot of things. Like, for example, the last time my friends and I made it through a meal without anyone pulling out a phone. Or how it felt to be able read an entire magazine article in one sitting...My point is I can't live without you. And that's why it's so hard for me to tell you we need to break up."

Price lets us know right away that she is not asking us to throw away our phones or live without them. Instead, we need to create a new relationship. An intentional one. 

"Smartphone are amazing tools. But something about smartphones also makes us act like tools."

Price tells us it's not the phones themselves but our relationship with them. Few of us have ever stopped to ask what we want from our phones, what effects they have on us, and how those effects are altering our lives and relationships. 

By "breaking up with our phone," we can pause, learn how they are affecting us, and then return to the relationship with intention and clarity.

So, first things first, do we have a problem? Do you? Price includes a scary smartphone compulsion test (scary because almost anyone with a device will test as "addicted"). This doesn't mean the test is askew. It means we as a society may have accepted our behavior as normal. (She even challenges us to imagine that everyone we see on a device in public is actually shooting up heroine. Would we accept that as normal? Where is the line?)

Price found through her research that almost everyone she asked wanted a break from their phone but weren't sure how to do it. So she decided to embark on a project to see the why and how behind our screen addictions; why are we so addicted and how can we create a new relationship with our devices?

The first half of the book is intended to be a wake up call and the second half of the book walks us through "the breakup" and how we can change our habits and reclaim our brain.

So, let's do this! Let's take some time to learn more about our devices, what they are doing to our brains, and how we can recreate our relationships with them.

Wanna join me? Grab your copy of the book and let us know how it is going. Drop a comment here and let us know if you think you need to break up with your phone and why. 

Want to receive support and encouragement via email?

Join our mailing list to receive support on your parenting journey. We send 1-3 newsletter emails a month and promise not to share your information.

We don't like spam and promise not to send you any.