Calling us out – let's not be a prisoner to our CELL phone

Contrary to The X-Files and the opinions of some of the lunatic fringe, the world is NOT going to be taken over by aliens. The world has already been overtaken – by cell phones.

How many times have you looked at your cell phone in the last hour? How about within the last 15 minutes? Most of us who answer honestly would say quite a bit.

A few days ago, I left very early for work. Ten minutes into my long commute, I suddenly realized that I had left my cellphone at home. I had a sudden rush of adrenaline - and annoyance at myself for forgetting it - so what did I do?

You already know – I went back home and got it.

Contrary to The X-Files and the opinions of some of the lunatic fringe, the world is NOT going to be taken over by aliens. The world has already been overtaken – by cellphones.

Just observe the people around you – no matter where you are – the church house, the schoolhouse, your house, the restaurant, while driving, in the fast food drive-thru, the toilet – someone, somewhere is texting, talking, scrolling, trolling, banking, streaming, gaming, listening, or performing some other function that involves their cellphone.

These devices have virtually become indispensable, and when they’re lost, some people think they are lost without them.

As my late grandmother might put it, “Something ain’t right!”

Cellphones and social media have actually become a sort of addiction. They have been proven to affect marriages and relationships. As coaches and counselors, we hear a variety of relationship issues at JUST US LIMITED, but at their core, many of them center on lack of quality communication. And cellphone addiction is very often a culprit – some spouses spend more time on their phones than they do talking or being intimate with their mate.

So, is cellphone addiction really a thing? More than 8 out of 10 Americans now own cellphones. These technological marvels (camera, calculator, note taker, camcorder, mirror, fitness assistant, airport check-in, game console, and more) have created a whole new set of phobias:

nomophobia: the fear of going without your phone
textaphrenia: the fear that you can’t send or receive texts
phantom vibration syndrome: the feeling that your phone is alerting you when it really isn’t

There is also the new term “phubbing,” a combo of phone and snubbing. Phubbing is the act of focusing on your cellphone during a conversation instead of paying attention to the person with whom you are having a conversation. When your spouse is trying to talk to you, that’s a problem.

Medical and mental health professionals engage in healthy debate as to whether excessive cellphone usage is a genuine addiction or simply an impulse control issue. Many medical experts are reluctant to assign “addiction” to anything other than habitual substance misuse.

For many people, social interaction stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter your body generates that makes you feel good.

You probably know someone who gets a little down when he or she doesn’t receive a lot of “likes." That daily pic or video showing their best face (smile, you're on social media) or the proverbial, "let me brag on so-and-so," or "I am so proud of so-and-so," doesn't receive the deluge of "likes," so silently they wonder if they're really liked by their social media friends.

App programmers know what they are doing. Some apps intentionally withhold and release “likes” and “comments” so that we receive them in a seemingly unpredictable pattern. When we can’t predict the pattern, we check our phones more often.

Did you know that one-third of 13-year-olds never turn off their phone, day or night? The sooner they receive those coveted phones, the more likely they are to acquire the use patterns that signal “addiction,” or something like it. That is a caution for parents of young ones, because cellphones won’t be obsolete any time soon.

More than ever, social media affects marriages and relationships. It opens up possibilities to rekindle old romances and start new ones. It sets the table for us to compare our spouses with other spouses. It also competes with the time we spend with one another. We simply get lost in the virtual craziness.

Has your spouse ever asked you if you would please “get off of that phone?” You might want to take note - and get off your phone. I get it. I've had to get off mines too.

Just a caution – let's examine our phone and other social media habits. Just how are we spending our time? Do we look at social media more than we connect with our spouse? More than we read and study our Bible? Do we recognize that we need to make changes – then we  should make the appropriate changes.

So, what if we'd rather be on our phone than spend time with our spouse? JUST US LIMITED is here. We will work to get you back on track. Bottom line – social media can be a tremendous blessing, but it can also be a tremendous curse. The moral of the story is we should be mindful.

I’m sure I’ll run off without my phone again in the future. When I do, I just might choose to leave it at home. Just how would I handle that? Would I rationalize that I need my phone just in case someone needs to get in touch with me? Maybe so. But on the other hand, I’m certain that I can make it eight hours without my phone. How about you?

By the way, what are you reading this blog from?

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