How to break up with your phone

by Catherine Price

Hello all. I hope you are all ok. I am typing this while watching Battlestar Galactica which is very VERY dark. I remember the one with Dirk Benedict which was a lot more cheery but this one has a very strong end of the world/ children dying/undefeatable enemy vibe which is not how I remember it. Also, Starbuck has changed sex. Not in a modern – no-one has a sex way – he’s just a woman now. I’m sorry – I can’t tell you why. She seems very nice. I’m not sure if I will carry on with it. Each episode is 90 minutes long and there appear to be hundreds of episodes containing dystopian, end of the world bleakness. A bit like Aged Parent when she’s run out of Laxido. I will probably move over to All Creatures Great and Small which is very good, I think. All the actors seem to be note perfect to me.

Also, it’s still very warm in Plymouth. Is anyone else warm? I have spent the best part of the weekend changing my clothes in my wardrobe from summer to winter and I probably won’t have anything to wear for the next two weeks now. I mean Tomaz Schafernaker’s word is law in this house but I don’t remember him predicting this.

I just wanted to pop on and review a book. I think it is important. This week, work has continued for the inquest into Molly Russell’s death. The 14-year-old (mark that – 14) killed herself in 2017 after viewing graphic images of self-harm and suicide on Social Media. Instagram has released details of the things she saw and the police have not been able to view it for an extended period of time because it is so graphic. She was 14.

This book addresses the issues around mobile phones, Social Media apps, and the Internet. It is split into two parts. The first part looks at the problems and the second part is an action plan.

The first half uses science to confirm everything I suspected about my mobile phone use. I had noticed that my attention span seemed to be shorter. I put it down to old age/dementia/lack of sleep worrying about Aged Parent. However, it seems that social media shortens our attention spans. It can also be responsible for lack of sleep, it encourages addictive behaviour and is actually changing our brains. And this is all deliberate. These apps are designed to do this to us. They are designed to make us chase “likes” etc. because that is where the money is for them. The killer fact for me was that silicon valley whizz kid designers do not allow their children to have phones – basically until they are so old that there is very little that the parents can do about it. Given a choice, they would probably ban their loved ones from the Internet forever.

Cards on the table, I didn’t follow the second half which is the action plan, point by point. When someone gives me a twelve-point plan, I never just take them one a day like you are supposed to. I get bored and curious and read them all (which as my old mother would say probably explains why I never stick with anything). But I did read all the suggestions and took quite a lot of them on board. I have never kept my phone in the bedroom (except when HOH works nights so that I can quickly dial 999 when murderers break-in). So that was never a big deal for me. However, Looking at my phone when I first got up was beginning to be a habit. Although, as usual, I am not sure that I am entirely to blame. It really only started when I got up and wanted to check the COVID stories. Drat you! International Pandemic. I haven’t deleted all the Social Media Apps either, which she definitely recommends. I mean, she’s right. I’m not doing it. Partly because how else can you keep up with what your kids are up to and er…I’m not doing it.

I did get a time tracker on the phone. (I’ll be honest – I’m not sure where I got it from. It seemed to just appear when I was looking into it which is a bit worrying). That makes a big difference, seeing the amount of time you spend on the phone has helped me to cut back. (On average, we pick up our phones over 50 times a day. I think I was well below average but I still cut back.

Also, emails. At any one time I usually have around 100 emails in my inbox and that’s not my work inbox. Listen, I have a very small circle of friends, eking out, as I do this lonely friendless existence. I am certain there is no way that people who love and care for me are sending me 100 emails. Could it be that they want to make money from me? What do you think?

I am aware, looking at the comments, etc that I get on here that rabid phone usage may not be a terrible problem for you and I am certainly not at the pointy end of this stick. But, if you love someone young or, if you are just concerned about what we are doing to the young people with their palpitations and their stress attacks and, oat the most horrible, horrible end of the spectrum, their suicide attempts, then you might like to poke around in this cesspool a bit further and make sure you have the old sword and shield and don’t get caught unawares.



  1. Jenny Young
    September 28, 2020 / 2:07 pm

    I am so glad I don’t have a teenager right now…goodness. Dealing with teens or aging parents during covid…I cannot imagine. I guess I really lucked out on that. Our parents are all gone, my son is a married young adult & the only child in our family is a toddler.

    But our 2 yr old begs for our phones! I never let him use mine. His mom lets him use hers sometimes. Or I’ll take his picture & he asks to see it. I’ve stopped taking constant pictures of him & try to sneak them in. It’s hilarious….& not so funny at the same time…if he sees you point a camera or phone at him he poses & says cheese.

    I do keep my phone by my bed. My husband works one or two evenings a week coming in anywhere from 11PM to 2AM. And I get up at 4:30AM two or three days a week to baby sit my grandson. So I always check my phone before I get out of bed to see if the kids have texted me to say they don’t need me….it does happen occasionally & I surely don’t want to get up, get dressed drive to town in the dark only find they are off work early or going it late…..not like that has happened!

    I bought a Kindle this year to help keep me off my phone. So I read it if I wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve turned off all the notifications on my phone except FB messenger because it’s how my kids communicate with me..instead of texting (why?). I hate reading on it so I don’t really use it for social media. I am on FB & IG.

    • lesleyps91
      September 28, 2020 / 9:09 pm

      I got into the habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning when my son had come back from university and sometimes would go back to his girlfriend’s after work. I always insisted that if he wasn’t coming home overnight that he would send me a text for me to find the next morning. You seem far more organised about social media than I am.

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