Carrie Bickmore admits to being in denial over her smartphone addiction.
You know those people who can’t be more than 10 metres from their phone? They get anxious when they misplace it, always checking for it, even pulling it out during dinner to flick through Facebook when you are trying ing to have a conversation. It’s really annoying. noying. Can’t you just put it away for a second?! econd?! I often accuse my boyfriend, Chris, ris, of being one of these people. ople. Stop looking at your phone while le I’m trying to tell you about my interesting day. It’s a regular source urce of frustration at home. me. His response is always ways the same: “You’re the one who is always on your phone! You’re addicted dicted to your phone!”
“I am not,” I respond. “I have great self-control when en it comes to my phone.” I don’t on’t need to check it when en a text arrives (I do); I can an go for a walk with the kids and leave the phone one at home (I don’t, though); ugh); and I definitely don’t n’t check Instagram in the middle of a conversation nversation (“(“Sorry, Sorry, what at did you say? I just st noticed former Bachelorettechelorette Sam Frost st posted a hilarious video eo of her dog… look k at him!”). The other night, I settled in for movie night with my son and he protested, “No second screening, Mum.” I nearly fell out of the bed. How does he know the term “second screening”, and why is he telling me? I never do that… do I? Am I th that person? I AM that person. Oh god. Those people are the worst. So I sat there and watched Paper Planes for the fourth time and resisted the urge to check my phone. It was hard. Hard like… not eati eating the entire jar of Nutella on my lap. I think I have lost the abilit ability to do nothing. I used to love bei being on flights when no-one could contact me, but now I get agitated agitated. On a recent kid-free ge getaway with Chris, we were in th the most picturesque place, and aft after five minutes of sitting around the campfire, I pulled out my p phone and started scrolling. It’s a h habit. A bad habit, and I need to bre break it. Our digital addiction is m making us all anxious. If we don’t re reply to an email within 10 minute minutes of receiving it, we feel tense. I If we don’t get an email back wi within 10 minutes of sending it, we w wonder what the other person is doing and why it’s not a priori priority. It’s also making us r rude. You’d never just turn a away from someone in the middle of a conversation and walk off, or hang up midw midway through a call. Yet, fo for some reason, we tolerate this behaviour when it involves our devices. It’s not cool.
I think it’s also getting in the way of important thinking time. Time to contemplate important life decisions. It’s almost like our phones are saving us from being alone with our thoughts.
The average Aussie spends 46 hours a week glued to their screens. And so much of our time is spent telling our kids to get off their phones and tablets. We are hypocrites. Well, I am anyway.
So Chris and I have introduced some phone rules into our relationship. I know, sexy right? It used to annoy him that I would jump on my phone within a minute of waking up in the morning, so now we don’t check any device for the first half hour of the day. It used to bug me when he’d answer texts through dinner, so now we leave our phones in our bags when we go out, and our conversations have been so much better for it.
Yes, devices are our reality now. We are dependent on them. But we also need to notice that fact and not lose touch with the joy of the real world. Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights, on Network Ten.