Just deciding to “get off your phone” or repeating that phrase to your kids all day will NEVER be enough. It necessitates more than willpower because we are dealing with constantly accessible dopamine reward pathways that get stronger and faster over time. And those apps that we go to have brilliant minds and A LOT of money behind them working to keep us hooked. Less screen time requires behavioral change.
Here are some ways to do it:
1) Keep your phone in another room or on another floor of your house when you want to be present. Research shows that if our smartphone is in proximity, we will pick it up and check it.
2) Silence all or most notifications when you do not want to be on your phone. (Or silence them always if you can—who needs to be constantly interrupted?)
3) Check your screen time and delete apps where you have spent too much time. Reinstall when you need to use them mindfully and decide on how much time prior.
4) Set specific times of the day as no device/phone times—even for the family. Set a timer if you need to. Meal times with others are a great time to put phones out of sight and focus on connection—old school.
5) Do a 24-hour or a 7-day social media fast. I would bet my ENTIRE career that after 7 days you WILL feel different and better.
6) Get a smartwatch and wear it while you leave your phone in another place. This, too, has helped me a lot.
7) A dumb phone has been amazing so far. They are so annoying after using a smartphone that I don’t even want to go near it—it’s having an opposite effect!!