3 Ways Cell Phones Negatively Affect your Family

Have you ever found yourself out with a group of friends or home having a family night and all of a sudden noticed that everyone was on his/her cell phone? While you were physically together, you knew that you weren’t all really present. Our phones have made it so easy to be connected that we have knowingly and unknowingly become hyper-connected. We are bombarded and burdened with work emails, constant text messages and notifications contributing to our very real stress and fatigue. Our phones are distracting us from family, friends and living in the present moment.

In my first post of this two part series, I share my observations on how cell phones can negatively affect us. In my next post, I’ll share my tried and tested tips to help create a better balance in our phone use as a family and individually.

3 Reasons to Put your Cell Down

While our cell phones can contribute to our lives in a positive way, I feel that most of us struggle to find a balance in our use of phones and technology. I observe this struggle while out and about, experience it firsthand, and hear about it often from friends and family. It’s not that technology is “the worst thing ever.” It seems to be our overuse of technology and cell phones without limits and expectations that’s causing so much grief.

Below are just a few of my observations on how our cell phones are negatively affecting our health and our family life.

1. Distracted and Missing Moments

It’s easy to become distracted by our cell phones, letting them interrupt everyday and special moments with our partner, children, friends, pets and people in our community. Maybe we receive a call, text or notification and we reach for our phone, losing track of what we were doing or who we were talking to. Have you ever noticed the reaction from your partner, child or pet when you get on your phone while they are with you? I think pets are the most brutally honest finding a way to let you know that they have had enough (pan to image of dog squeezing herself between me and my device).

2. Wasted Time

Ever find yourself doing something on your phone and wondering where the last 30 minutes went? Imagine if we add up all those moments throughout a given day where time seems to just disappear. Down time is healthy, but this mindless phone time is distracting us from activities that make us feel happier and healthier. Instead of being on our phones, we could enjoy running, going to the gym, meeting friends, hiking, cooking, writing, crafting, hanging with our children, volunteering, and the list goes on.

3. Bad Manners and Habits

We see people on their phones while they are paying for a coffee or checking out at a grocery store, not having the courtesy to hang up and thank the cashier. We are neglecting to make eye contact with family members while in a conversation because we are fixated on our phones. We pull our phones out while in public by ourselves (waiting to meet a friend for example) because the idea of making small talk with those around us seems strange. These are just a few examples of how manners are being lost and bad habits are being created. And while cell phones are not solely to blame, they are often the very real and tangible culprits in these circumstances. On a side note, think about what we are modeling to all the children, who are growing up in the cell phone generation (check out my series on the importance of modeling).

Those are a few of my observations and experiences on the negative effects of cell phone misuse and overuse. The list can surely go on. In my next post, I address how to make changes to minimize these negative effects and find a better balance with your, as well as, your family’s cell phone use.

Were you nodding as you read along? Or do you have different experiences all together? How is the misuse and overuse of cell phones affecting you and your family? I’d love to hear from you.

Keep well, S