How To Break Up With Your Phone

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This week was the first week of the 2018 – 2019 school year. I spent the week going over my values as a teacher, classroom procedures and rules. One rule that I am increasingly fighting an uphill battle to enforce is my no-cell phone policy. To explain my reasoning for being strict about their phone usage in class, I had my students take the online Smartphone Compulsion Test. If anyone scores 5 or more out of 15, they may need to seek professional help. Not surprisingly, my students got their highest test scores ever! Only 6 of my students scored under 5 in this self-assessment and these students all had parents who put great restraints on their technology use. In our subsequent conversation on the topic, I offered to purchase the above book for anyone interested in learning more about the subject. I figured I should read it too.

The book is separated into two sections, the first is intended to “scare you” into changing your cell phone habit, while the second is a practical thirty day program to help you make that change. Currently, I have just finished the first section and there are some eye opening ideas presented.

  1. The makers of smart phones and their apps don’t allow their children to use them. The book suggests that’s because they know the potentially addictive nature of what they’ve created.
  2. Facebook, in addition to having access to all of the data used on the site, also has access to every purchase we have made on any card offline. If you’ve ever had an ad pop up for something you purchased- that you never searched for online – it’s this this offline access that made that possible.
  3. The cumulative volume of time spent online is unfathomable. One stat the book quoted from the New York Times is that by 2014, Facebook users were dedicating a combined 39,757 years every day to the site.
  4. In trying to live in a healthier way than our society in general, unplugging is a must. Simply put, being online daily makes each of us susceptible to the influence of what’s making our culture insane.
  5. The chapter titles sum up the book perfectly. Here’s some of my favorites…
    1. Our Phones Are Designed to Addict Us
    2. Your Phone is Changing Your Brain
    3. Your Phone is Killing Your Attention Span
    4. Stress, Sleep and Satisfaction

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