Cell phones are becoming more and more visible in our society. Children are getting their own phones earlier and earlier, and with each one, the owner seems glue to their screens, regardless of where they are at and what they are doing. In this post, I would like to ask you how your cell phone habits can be harming your relationships, and offer some tips to help you take control of these habits and put your attention back on building your face to face relationships, not just your online ones.

How Your Cell Phone Habits Can Be Harming Your Relationships - Learn how to ensure you are making your relationships more important than your phone, with tips that are easy to implement. | www.joyinthehome.com

How Your Cell Phone Habits Can Be Harming Your Relationships

Every person, regardless of their age, should have set boundaries of when and how to use their phone in different settings, and have an accountability in place to help them build the habits that will helping keep their relationships in person as their main focus, and not the distractions that I have been witnessing and participating in the past.

Capturing Memories Instead of Making Them

Having cameras built into our phones are such a blessing, especially for women who love to capture their memories with those that they hold dear. However, this tool has quickly become the focus of quality time spent together. Over the last several months, I have been included in these types of memories, and even part of the problem at times, of wanting to take a picture to include those that I'm with and next thing I know, the conversation that was happening right before that picture opportunity, turned into a time of social media sharing and the conversation died out.

The next thing that happens in this situation is the other people not posting that picture, feel awkward and they too, pick up their phone and scan their social media, waiting for the notification that they were tagged in the photo, so they can ‘like' it and comment on it, rather than continuing the conversation and building the relationship face to face.

The problem isn't taking the photos, we all want those memories to enjoy at other times.

Challenge to break this habit… 

Take the photo, and put the phone down to continue where you were in the conversation and BE IN THE MOMENT.  Get all you can out of the time you have with those in your life that are right in front of you. At a later time, when you are alone, when no one is talking for long periods of time, or when you climb into bed, POST those memories then, tagging those you included in your photos and use #sharingamemory or #latergram or none at all.


Be in the Moment When You Are in a Group of Two or More

I can't tell you the number of times that I sat in a room of others, some family, some friends, some acquaintance and some time with strangers and nearly everyone in these settings were 100% involved with their phones, and not with those that they took time to get together with.

BE IN THE MOMENT – For someone who doesn't have this addiction with their phone, it becomes very apparent just how out of control the cell phone habits have become and to see this happening with children, who should be loving life to the fullest, laughing at those they love, verses the hottest Youtube video, or a status of someone they follow. But of course, they are emulating those around them, because standards have been implemented to take them away from the moment they are in, and escaping to a place they would rather be or just losing them self with the actions of refreshing their Facebook wall, scanning through Instagram, following hashtags, or finding new friends, while losing touch with those they can literally reach out and touch.

Challenge to break this habit…

Keep your phone out of reach when you have people within your reach. If you are afraid that you may miss an important call from a family member that you aren't with, or a call from work or a client, learn how to customize ring tones to match up with these people, so no matter where your phone is, you can tell if an important call is coming through that you need to excuse yourself to take and make yourself available.

The majority of the distractions from our phones during this time are unimportant notifications, or things that can be picked up after you are done with spending quality time with those that you love and hold dear enough to get together with face to face.


Meal Times Are Moment Times

Gathering around the table has really changed in our society. Just visit a restaurant today, and you will see the major effects of the cell phone habits. You can have a family of 2 or 3, or as many as 10 or more, and the scene would still be the same… faces in their devices, and hardly any conversation happening.

When some conversations happen, a notification comes through and one person stops this quickly to engage with the person interrupting a meal with family or friends, and gives them their full attention.

As a mother who strongly believes that children need to learn the proper way to interrupt, and then having adults showing just the opposite of this, is more than frustrating to me and devastating to watch.

Challenge to break this habit…

This is a tip that I heard and loved it from that very moment. The tip is simple: use airplane mode during meal times. This setting is easy to put into place, and to remove. What it does is stops all notifications, including calls and texts, from coming through, but the functions of the phone are still available, like the camera.

Once the meal is over, just remove the airplane mode and catch up on anything you missed.


Family Time Is Now Screen Time

Family time is becoming distinct in our society, and being rapidly replaced with screen time.  A perfect test for this in your own family is to look at your past photos of ‘family' gatherings, outings, games, etc, and see how many photos you see someone with a phone in their hands. Literally take a good look, and see if your family time has been changing right in front of you, and you didn't even notice it.

Our family time with our older two children often times is in front of the television in the later hours of the evening. It amazes me to see how much the phones come into play during this time. My phone quiets down early in the evening, because those who I connect with online knows that I don't work in the evening or on the weekend, which was a habit that I had to implement in February 2015, when I realized that I was out of balance and needed to put new habits in place of old habits that were going against my heart for my own family.

Challenge to break this habit…

Unplug during family times, and keep all phones away from you during set time for family time.

This is something that I feel is so important and where I hope to take our family. My husband is great at this but he isn't on social media, and his phone is connected to his livelihood, so if he isn't working, his phone isn't near him. He doesn't even take it on most of our vacations.

Game times and movie times is an easy time for our family to unplug. While we are out on the golf course, and at church. We still have places that we need to unplug, but thank goodness, I recognized this cell phone habit and how it was harming our relationships and took a personal look to make changes starting with me, and then helping my family build good habits.

Are you ready to take a challenge to break the cell phone habit? If so, tell me what you are doing to make face to face relationships your priority over your latest notification on your cell phone.