I, Jennifer Joan D'Alessandro of Lockport NY am in no way associated with Thomas Retzlaff.
I do not know Thomas Retzlaff.
I have never knowingly interacted with Thomas Retzlaff.
I have no knowledge of Thomas Retzlaff. I don't know who the man is, I don't know where he lives, I don't know what he has or has not done. I have ZERO knowledge of this man.
Is that clear enough for you?
We've all heard (and ignored) the stats about cell phone addiction. I've secretly struggled with the idea and blocked it from my mind. I like my phone. I love having immediate access to the web, Facebook, Twitter, Email, Direct Messenging...etc. etc. Do I really need to justify that?
Why should I feel guilty? It's not like I'm alone, right? I'll admit that I have left the house and realized 20 minutes into my drive that I left my phone at home and...I went back. Who doesn't do that? Yes, I check it all the time, even in the middle of church, to see if I'm missing anything. I've also been known to check it during a movie by hiding it (and my head) under a jacket. Does that mean it's a problem?
So, I've been living happily in my little world of denial for a while now. Until something happened that I could no longer ignore. I spent the day with some of my family exploring a State Park. It was a beautiful place full of trees, creeks, and even a really neat canyon with walkways providing access.
The next day, my son posted some pictures on Facebook and tagged me in a few. In one picture I was off by myself, cradling my phone, obviously intent on what I was seeing on the screen. My family was enjoying the beauty of the park and I was caught up in something on my phone. I wonder what it was? What could have been better than the interaction with people I love and the unique loveliness of the park?
It stayed with me, although I refused to talk about it with anyone until now. I'd love to tell you that I immediately got a handle on my problem, and...YES, it was/is a problem. However, the truth is I have been working to make small changes that are finally showing some results. It's been nearly a year. You read that correctly. A year.
Here's my goals:
- I try to leave the phone in the car when I am taking a walk with my family or at an outdoor activity. Currently, I'm at about a 50% success rate with this.
- I try to leave my phone off the table when I am eating with other people. I thought I was doing well that that one, but another Facebook photo recently busted me with phone right there on the table. I'm stepping up my efforts.
- I try not to look at my phone while I'm talking to other people. If my text messaging alert goes off, I do my best to completely ignore it. This is a BIG DEAL...or at least it was for me.
- If I do happen to look at my phone when an alert goes off, I try not to respond. I don't know why, but for some reason I've looked at "texting" and "responding" as though it were two separate things. Responding is the same as texting and it shouldn't happen during a conversation.
- I'm trying to be more conscious of time I spend doing anything on my phone. Because an IPhone has so many features, I can get lost in checking email, texts, Facebook, etc. If I've spent 5 minutes on each activity, it's easy for a half hour or more to pass without realizing it.
Overall, I think I'm doing much better than I was a year ago but there's still progress to be made. I encourage my students to consider their cell phone habits (and addictions) and to make positive changes. I now take note of families eating together in a restaurant while each of them has a phone in their hands. Is that really where we are all headed? I hope not.
I'm take a big step here to admit that I have a problem. I hope you'll consider adopting some of my goals. Feel free to comment if you have an additional idea or thought.