I came across a report recently that said that 19% of smartphone users have dropped their phone in the toilet at least once. That means that if there are 5 in your household, each with their own phone, chances are one of you has seen your phone go for a swim.
Sure I know people who have experienced this relatively new phenomenon, but apparently smartphones ending up in the toilet is a larger issue than I realized.
Perhaps it is more complicated than this, but I’d like to suggest a solution that I think can make a dent in those numbers.
Stop taking your phone into the bathroom!
Maybe it’s too simplistic or I am missing something (wouldn’t be the first time) but is it possible to simply leave our phones outside the bathroom…say, on a dresser, in a purse or the office while we “go”?
I’m not a doctor but isn’t there a hygiene issue here? If you are, please speak to this, but it can’t be a good thing to scroll through our newsfeed, check Facebook post likes or text our best friend while we’re taking care of business, can it? Seems kind of gross to me.
I can hear someone respond with, “You’ve got to be kidding. I get some of my best social media time while on a break in the bathroom.” Others simply just never leave their phones out of their sight, ever.
Hey, I’m not against smartphones. I have one, I like it, it’s super helpful and convenient. Like you I check emails, listen to music or podcasts, I text and I search social media.
I remember my first phone. It was new and exciting and all of a sudden I had access to things that until then I had to go to my office for. Soon, I was emailing people at 11pm and checking sports scores in the middle of the night if I couldn’t sleep. It was cool. But the advent of the smartphone also meant I had to learn new behaviours and new boundaries. This became obvious when one night Kathy and I were watching TV when I received an email from a distraught person. I soon was in an email conversation that could have easily gone on indefinitely.
That’s when I first saw that this wonderful device while beneficial, could actually interfere with my life. I’ve been trying to learn and live with the tension ever since.
I am concerned that phones can have a negative impact on things like our schedules, our free time, and our relationships. The other day I saw a couple in our cafe, who stopped in for lunch. They were there for over an hour and each of them were on their own phones the entire time. They never talked to each other, at all. I actually had another customer come to me and comment on the situation with deep sadness in his eyes.
Like with so many things in our lives, the smartphone has lead to new behaviours. Behaviours that can serve us or hurt us. At their worst, they can become addictive.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction as, “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble); an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.”
I would add that a behaviour could be an addiction when it interferes with healthy functioning in other areas of our lives.
Clues you might be addicted to your phone:
- your phone is in your hand 24/7 (at least while you’re awake)
- you are on your phone in social settings (parties, family dinner etc)
- you take it into the bathroom
- you check your phone for no reason, only because it’s there
- you use your phone to avoid silence
- checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning and last thing at night
- you don’t take a vacation from your phone when on vacation
- you check and answer emails and texts all day long
- you’re on your phone while eating
- you’re texting your friend while on a date
I’m concerned that our excessive use of smartphones could lead to greater harm for ourselves and our relationships without some appropriate boundaries.
Here are some suggestions that may help:
- don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow
- leave all phones off during family dinner
- don’t answer your phone during a meeting with a co-worker or business associate
- when out with a friend for coffee, stay focused on each other
- limit texting to information not conversation
- have verbal conversations
- take extended breaks from technology
- control the use of your phone, don’t let it control you.
Do you have a problem with dropping your smartphone into the toilet? Then stop taking it into the bathroom. It might be the healthiest decision you make.
If your phone is interfering with other important areas of your life, like your relationships, productivity and personal health, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.
How about you?
How do you manage your phone?
Do you control your phone or does your phone control you? If you’re not sure, ask someone close to you. I’m sure they will have some helpful feedback.
What is one decision you can make today, to establish a healthy boundary with your phone?
Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.