Starting on Friday the 17th, I started seeing a few people on Twitter talking about disconnecting to reconnect on Father’s Day. Their challenge was to turn off your smart phone and reconnect with your children for Sunday. The idea intrigued me, but I was not quite ready to commit by re-tweeting and telling everyone I would not be connected. I was also not ready to quit cold turkey.
For Saturday, I tried checking my email, Facebook and Twitter feeds less often, as well as not trying real hard to catch up on the multi-player games on my phone. I don’t think I even checked this blog Saturday in an attempt to wean myself from the computer and smart phone. Sunday morning I woke up, as usual before everyone else, checked my social media feeds one more time and set the phone down. Here is what I learned:
- When my iPhone is on but not being used, the battery only drained 12% over 24 hours. Compare this to the 33% it drained during the single hour I fed my youngest, watched 2 episodes of Everybody Hates Chris and caught up on everything on the phone.
- The 3 newspapers I read online daily did not go out of business or stop printing because I was not there reading them.
- No one got mad that I hadn’t played Words With Friends with them in nearly 42 hours.
- Same thing for Disc Driving.
- The animals in the Tap Zoo, Tap Birds, Tap Fish and Tap Exotic Fish games my daughter plays on my phone (and gets angry when they die for lack of me feeding them) did not die, not a single one.
- If you decide not to use your phone for anything other than calling your own father and for the electronic bible you’ve grown to use that’s fine, but if your wife texts you, you still have to answer because she doesn’t know you’re not using your phone. DO NOT mess this one up!
- Turning your phone off is fine, but if you neglect to tell everyone, do not expect your oldest daughter to either a) turn hers off or b) notice you turned yours off. Texting her to tell her this would be a great idea, but disingenuous to the concept.
- My wife often tells me she only sees the top of my head thanks to my iPhone. It never does any good to argue with her and explain that I only mess with my phone at set times of the day and it just happens that those set times are the same times she looks at me (there’s probably a message I haven’t yet gotten in that one). The most important point: Not using my phone for a day did not kill me.
Over the course of the next day I will be catching up on the other things I’ve slowed/stopped, such as responding to comments on this blog. Thank you for your patience. Overall it was an enjoyable day. While annually is way too long before I try it again, weekly is probably too much. I do believe that I will try it again, more frequently. Most importantly, I have learned that the next time I do it, I will admit it and announce it. Turning off the phone is an easy to accomplish task, even for those that do not want to admit it.