Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 May

Why We’re Missing Out on Real Life (plus a Primal Health Challenge)

phonetabletOver the past couple weeks, I’ve identified two deficits in our modern lives – the lack of sprinting and the lack of walking – and proposed a series of corresponding challenges to address (and hopefully fill) those deficits. Judging from the responses, I think these articles were  successful. Today, I’m trying my hand at highlighting another problem, this time one that has nothing to do with physical fitness. In fact, it deals with perhaps the most physically inactive activity you’ll ever do: staring at a smartphone as the world gets on around you. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-technology (duh), or even anti-smartphone (got one myself). I have the accumulated knowledge of the world in my pocket, and that’s pretty darn useful. I can find out where to get the best Greek food within five miles. I can bank, I can order flights to far off lands, I can check traffic, I can check shopping lists, read email, text, tweet, friend, defriend, like, oh, and make phone calls – all from the comfort of my 3.5 inch touch screen. That’s incredible. It also makes it really, really easy to get too comfortable and avoid actually experiencing the real, physical world.

I mean, when you stop and step outside of yourself for a second, and you think about the level of technology we can access, it starts feeling like we’re in the future. Of course, the future will never actually feel like “The Future” because we’ll have caught up to it and gotten used to it, but if a Connecticut Yankee appeared in our midst from the 19th (or even late 20th) century, he’d be blown away. It’s awesome and empowering and all those great things, but is there a dark side to it, too?

Our relationship with technology is not quite as dire as a Philip K. Dick novel, with programmable moods and emotions replacing real ones and electric pets replacing organic ones. It’s also not quite like the Jetsons, where flying cars, robot maids, moving sidewalks, auto-cooking kitchens, and other advanced tech enhanced human engagement with the world and its inhabitants. Ours lies somewhere in between. We’re getting along, it’s not a dystopia, but I think there are some very real problems that need to be acknowledged. Namely, smartphones, social media, and the Internet in general has changed the way we experience the world. For many, it has replaced engagement with the real physical world almost entirely. And that’s bad. We’re really missing out.

Okay, how about some stats? Let’s see what we’re dealing with.

In Britain, 81% of smartphone users have it on all day, every day. Almost half of smartphone users, upon being woken up by a phone call or text or misplaced alarm at night, end up using the phone instead of shutting it off and going back to sleep. Over half of adults and two-thirds of teens regularly use their phones while socializing with others in person (there’s nothing like a tableful of people staring at their phones in unison, is there?). About a quarter of adults use their phone during dinner. A third of teens can say the same. 47% of teens use their phones on the toilet, while just over a fifth of adults do the same (don’t they know the bathroom is for thumbing through the wife’s Cosmo?).

In the US, 59% of teens admit that they go online too much, 58% say they use smartphones way too much, and 48% use Facebook (and other social media sites). Of course, they admit it, but they don’t do anything about it. But hey, at least they’re watching less TV!

Internet Addiction Disorder is now a real thing, gaining acceptance as a legitimate clinical disorder and characterized by the classic trappings of a substance addiction. A series of studies out of China have found large structural differences between the brains of Internet addicts and controls, including impairments in white matter fibers involved in emotional generation and processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control (PDF). I’m not saying we’re all full-blown Internet addicts, but there’s a spectrum, and I think a lot of people are hurtling along it.

Near as I can tell, this is a real problem. A recent study even found that people who stopped checking their email for a week were more productive and experienced less stress (as indicated by the heart rate monitors attached to them for the duration of the experiment) than the folks who maintained their email habits. Those who checked emails switched windows an average of 37 times per hour, while the email abstainers switched windows just 18 times per hour. More than objective effects on productivity and stress, though, I just find it really sad to see people miss out on life because they “had” to check their phone. It’s sad seeing strollers full of wide-eyed babies who are absolutely amazed at everything they’re seeing – that bushy squirrel tail flashing across the powerline overhead, the cat sunning itself on the sidewalk, a garbage can left out from garbage day, a bush, a cloud, a man on a recumbent bike, a leaf fluttering down from treetops  – pushed by moms and dads with their eyes glued to their 3.5 inch screens, totally oblivious to the sensory explosions going on in their offspring but completely up-to-date on whether or not someone “liked” their most recent status update. “Ooh, red notification!” At least take a photo of the kid or something, sheesh.

Okay, time to fess up.

In the past week, what’s the longest you’ve gone without checking your smartphone, surfing the web, or checking Facebook, Twitter, or your email? Just give a ballpark figure. You don’t need to be exact. Sleep doesn’t count (nice try). Waking hours only.

In other words…

How many hours have you made it phone-and-email free before being pulled back to the alluring blue glare?

View Results

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How’d you do? I didn’t do that great, actually – I’m in the four to six range.

So here’s your challenge for the week: don’t use your phone or check your email after 7 PM for the next seven days. Extenuating circumstances? Sure, fine. Don’t lose your job over this or anything like that, but do your best to avoid those frivolous mindless thoughtless check-ins “just because.”

This may sound easy. 7 PM? Psh. Assuming you go to bed around 10, 10:30, 11 PM, that’s just a few hours of downtime. You can do that. Right? I was originally going to make it a bit more hardcore, but I think this is easy enough that everyone can hit it if they try, and dramatic enough that you’ll see and feel a real difference.

We’ll see. If it was so easy, if real life was so preferable to a smartphone, you’d already be doing it on your own. Don’t disappoint me!

One more thing: don’t just turn off the phone and close the laptop and turn on the TV. No, do something. Go out dancing. Light some candles and have a game night. Go for a walk. Go for a night hike. Take a short vacation (and leave the phone altogether). Engage with the physical world and its inhabitants, face to face. And let this engagement with the world carry over to the rest of your time, your “connected” time. Smartphone usage and being present are not mutually exclusive, believe it or not.

Please, whatever you do, keep that phone off, in your pocket, or back at home when you go on a walk with your kid. Don’t shuffle along, oblivious to the world around you, eyes and attention trained on that screen.

Okay, I’ve said my piece. Now it’s your turn. Get out there and stop missing out on real life!

Oh, and tell me how that sprint challenge from last week went. Did you get it done? Leave a comment!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Oh, I feel like we’re living in The Future. I say as much whenever I pull out my phone to look up information about whatever I want, from where-ever I want, whenever I want. Yes, I agree entirely that such information accessibility is a double-edged sword, but still… When you think about how much information I have access to, in comparison to what our thousands of millions of ancestors had…well…we must literally seem like gods by comparison.

    cTo wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • We have tons of information, but most of us lack the knowlege to truly apply it. Worse, the vast majority of information on the Internet is just noise.

      Nathan wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • Technology and the internet tests our gullibility yet can hone our ability to identify the truth, when the truth appears. Unfortunately you often must wade though s**t to find the truth. But that is life in this world. Most of the best knowledge of living wisely, taking care our health, the earth, and each other – important information to be passed on to our children, has been hi-jacked by corporate interests. But websites like this one are presenting a lot of truth about those very things, making up for a lot of the damage, and proving healthy ethical traditions to pass along.

        David wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • What I’ve also started to realize is that this easy access to any and all information has allowed people to become “lazy” in terms of what knowledge they actually hold. What’s the point in knowing a fact or how to do something when you can just look it up online when you need to? It’s like the internet is replacing our brains…we are holding less knowledge ourselves and relying on the internet to provide it for us. It honestly scares me, especially after seeing the movie Idiocracy. I fear that’s actually where we’re heading.

        Jacob wrote on May 15th, 2012
        • LOL, yes. I encounter scenarios that remind me of the movie Idiocracy on a regular basis. Scary.

          K wrote on May 16th, 2012
        • I agree! I see things ALL the time that make me think of that movie. We call it a documentary! hahaha

          Primal Pants wrote on May 17th, 2012
    • So with all this access to technology and information , why do people in general appear to be dumber???

      http://www.cafepress.com/coolstuffzone/9729798

      Renick Marsh wrote on January 17th, 2013
  2. I’m young and attached to my phone. It really is sad whenever I think about it. I’m going to try my best to complete the challenge. I can’t lie, it will be hard. Luckily, I get to see my niece this weekend, which never fails to make me forget about my phone.

    Josh wrote on May 15th, 2012
  3. Mark — you shouldn’t tell us your answer, it will bias the result… !

    Scott wrote on May 15th, 2012
  4. For the challenge, I’m probably going to have to do no internet at all after 7 pm. Otherwise, I’ll be too tempted to check my email.

    Daniel wrote on May 15th, 2012
  5. I hardly go anywhere without my iPhone but rarely do anything with it except make/answer phone calls (even though I have a ton of cool apps). I’m a Luddite at heart–I like books, paper maps, working with my hands. Since I spend all day working at a computer for my job, I’ve declared Saturday a tech-free day. I’ll answer my iPhone if it rings, but that’s about it.

    Nicky wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I once disconnected my Iphone service (it’s expensive for just one line) and planned to just use my house phone.

      More than a few family members and friends freaked out. They did not like it at all that they did not have instant access to me.

      I tried telling everyone that if they left me a message I would call them back when I got it. I had to reconnect my Iphone.

      Part of our problem is that we have grown accustomed to instant gratification, and satisfying impulse upon arisal.

      Patience and delaying gratification seem like ancient virtues now.

      Can anyone even imagine waiting to hear from someone by mail? Like with a postage stamp and everything?

      Matthew Caton wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • I abandoned my mobile phone for (the more expensive) land-line. Did this when I had my son- did some research on the DNA dangers of phones. Oh the freedom outside- so lovely. That was easy enough, but now everyone emails me instead of text/phoning… How can I dump the ‘net?! Well and truly sucked in to this one…
        I was wondering when this subject would come up.
        On ya Mark. Voicing the great subconscious… keeping us honest with ourselves.
        : )

        ces wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • I amaze people when I admit that I pay for my cell phone by the minute – so no, it’s not a smart phone. And my husband doesn’t have a smart phone either – his is a work phone, so he doesn’t use it much outside of work (unless it is a work call). My cell phone also doesn’t do messages, so people really either have to call my landline (and leave a message if I don’t answer) or they have to send emails…

        And while I just finished sending out lots of postcards on vacation, I really don’t get much personal mail from people otherwise…

        Ah, the wonders of technology (or not).

        Kerstin wrote on May 15th, 2012
        • I amaze people when I tell them I don’t have a mobile phone. I had one before, when work provided it, but have never had a smart phone. And I’m a software engineer. Have always loved technology. I’ve even worked on apps for the phones I don’t have.

          While it would be nice to have in certain circumstances I haven’t found it to be necessary. Some people ask me “What about emergencies?” And talk about how kids in school have them in case of emergencies. I state that I will deal with it the same way I did and my father did before the things became commonplace. It’s been 2 years since I’ve had a mobile phone, I’ve been getting along fine.

          Aaron wrote on May 16th, 2012
  6. Hurray, for challenges and experiments! Keep them coming Mark!

    DirectM wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I agree! These are fun. I was able to do the walking one, though I am saving the sprinting one for a couple of weeks down the road, as I am in the middle of doing a 4-week-to-run-a-mile training program (made for those of us who have never really run in our lives!). This one sounds great.

      Cathy wrote on May 15th, 2012
  7. I frequently turn off the computer and leave my phone at home while my husband and I are enjoying our weekends. It amazes my how angry people get when you are unreachable, as if having cell phones means I have to be instantly at someone elses disposal 24-7.

    Team Oberg wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I get on my husband’s case all the time about his face being burried in his phone. It also drives me nuts when people get mad that they can’t get a hold of me. I tell everyone the phone is for my convenience, not theirs, unless they want to pay my bill.

      Mae wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • +1 on the convenience thing. And I get funny looks from people when I don’t run to the other room and get my phone when it rings. Just because it rings doesn’t mean I have to answer it.

        Wayne wrote on May 15th, 2012
        • +1 on both of these. I get on my boyfriend, for texting or looking something up while were out to dinner or having a serious conversation. Dude – I’m here not in the phone. Is whoever texting more important than me and the kids?
          And then he gets on me cause my phone is on vibrate cause I can’t hear it.. Sorry I’m not going to run for my phone every time it goes off.

          croí wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • Matt

        I idolize you. From the very beginning of telecommunications, it was always an intrusion to call anybody without permission. K

        kapo wrote on May 16th, 2012
  8. I love this post, although I can’t relate… yet. I’ve managed to resist getting a smartphone for the very reason that I don’t want to become glued to it at the expense of the rest of my life! With the iPhone 5 coming, I thought I would make the leap, but then again, what would I be missing? Nothing. Your post has steeled my resolve to keep the phone I already have (which is the equivalent of a caveman’s phone in comparison to any smartphone!). Until it dies, anyway. ;)

    That said, I could definitely try to use less time online in the evenings, so I’ll modify the challenge and stop checking my email intermittently in the evening and before bed.

    Monique wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • Me too on this one. I have a mobile phone that takes phone calls and sends texts:that’s it. No camera, no apps, oh I think it has an alarm somewhere. I do get glued to my iPad, so I am aware of this, and will endeavor to put it down, and knit the jumper I planned for this winter.
      I have watched people interact with their phones like they are a precious child, cradling them while they find a seat on the train, and then punch their 4 digit code in and poof, they zone out. It’s a bit creepy.

      Heather wrote on May 15th, 2012
  9. This is a great challenge, something I struggle with daily being a stay at home mom. It is easier to give up the devices in the warmer months than to do it through the winter months. Technology is a slow fade. I never had a smart phone until this Christmas and purposely haven’t put my email on it. I am good at checking email 2x’s a day…now Facebook ….. a whole other monster. Trying to only resort to that a few times a day and short spurts…this challenge will be good to reconnect with my family.

    Lori wrote on May 15th, 2012
  10. This post has inspired me to leave work early and enjoy the beautiful weather I can see through the window. I’ll direct my boss to this post if he asks why I’m leaving.

    Josh wrote on May 15th, 2012
  11. I have an iPhone. My boyfriend has an old Nokia brick phone. And it is not at all because he can’t afford a smartphone – he can – he doesn’t WANT one. At first I was appalled by his choice of phone, but now I really admire it. He feels absolutely no need to have constant access to the internet, update his Facebook (which he also doesn’t have), or play angry birds during date nights. We spend our time hiking, cooking, going out, reading… He’s also challenged me to rely on my phone less and less for my normal life function. When we’re together we don’t use Google maps – and it amazes me how much better he is at finding his own way that my Google-map-dependent self. I have no intention of getting rid of my iPhone, it is fabulous for many things, but my perspective has certainly shifted. Because of my lessened reliance on my smart phone, I feel like I live REAL life so much more!

    Susie wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • Good for your boyfriend…

      Since I’m already addicted to my home computer the last thing I need is a iPhone. And we just dumped our old Verizon flip-phone for a tracfone. Saving about $400.00 a year.

      Adrienne wrote on May 15th, 2012
  12. This will be a fun challenge! I have been trying to cut back on my compulsive email/Facebook/Internet checking. The last few days I’ve been doing better; I am online for an hour or so looking at websites and working on my blog, then a few minutes during my son’s nap, and after dinner. I’m going to try to cut out the evening technology. When I force myself to put away the computer or Blackberry, I really connect much better with my family. More challenges, please, Mark!

    Shannon wrote on May 15th, 2012
  13. You guys should get a John’s phone.(the world’s most simplest phone)

    I know I’m getting one.

    http://www.blessthisstuff.com/imagens/stuff/img_johns_phone.jpg

    Alex wrote on May 15th, 2012
  14. I did five days without technology, electricity (except for heating,) clocks and transport earlier this year. It was eye-opening…and not at the same time.

    It was soooooo relaxing, I was so calm and productive the whole time but when I got back to the real world – the vibrancy of just a simple trip to Target in the car was like a huge adventure. Colors! Light! Sound!

    I came away thinking that if we could balance the two, it would be perfect – access to information (and therefore power) along with occasional intense sensory input balanced with calm, peace, home and hearth. I still haven’t worn a watch since then (it was in January) but the constant pull of my small blue screen requires constant vigilance.

    Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • Thanks to Hurrican Irene I did 9 days without electricity. Not cool when you have well water…

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • 5 days for me, thanks to Hurricane Charley. Definitely not cool without well water. Or A/C. In August. In SW Florida….

        Tom Higgins wrote on May 15th, 2012
  15. Ditch the phone! No cell phones in our house. PC is enough, and that’s easy to cut back on. I’m always in dismay when I’m with someone and they put me on pause to stare into their hand. I put up with it, but it’s extremely rude and I’d never do it to someone else. On a bike ride, there’s no phone to ring. Just me and the road. On a walk in the woods to forage food, no distracting beeps – I’m free to notice patterns and make mental notes about which plants are doing what without being interrupted. These addicts are missing out on a whole chunk of general cognition, the kind of thinking that takes place over time when the mind is not distracted and takes hours to actualize.

    knifegill wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I’m with you on this one! Well, I have a basic cell phone, but it is my only phone.

      Elle wrote on May 15th, 2012
  16. er… Can I do more sprints instead?

    I’ll *try* to not check my phone while being social. Although, at this point, I might stand out for not doing so. (They *might* believe me if I say I forgot my phone or my charger.)

    If that works, I might be able to swing at least once weekly where the phone is off 3-5 hours before I go to bed.

    Joooolia wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • By “Sprints”, are you refering to using the mobile provider for brief period of time or actual running :)

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • Nice!
        As actual as I run. I’m pretty slow. I finish a 15K in about 2 hours. But I finish it & am not completely wrecked by the run. (It’s the heat & beer that do me in… although, perhaps not this year.)

        Joooolia wrote on May 15th, 2012
  17. I am 23 and I HATE sitting at a table with friends and ALL of us are staring at our phones. I have made it a resolution this year to be present with the people in front of me. I think they really appreciate it. I know I dont feel important when I am in the middle of a story and they pull out a phone and start texting someone else.

    Mercedes wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • YES! This times a million. It is the most irritating thing in the world when you make plans with someone and they spend the whole time checking their phone. The funny thing is if there’s a night I know they’re hanging out with someone else, they spend the whole time texting me. Presence is so important

      Abigaillyn wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • I think it is so RUDE when you are hanging out with friends and everyone is on their phone. I think its almost an UNSPOKEN rule among my friends that we put the phones away when hanging out.

        Primal Pants wrote on May 17th, 2012
  18. My problem is taking calls when my kids are walking with me. Walks are perfect for getting your kids to talk to you, so I am going to make a point to not take those calls.

    Thanks for not vilifying technology. It’s all about using the tools we have reasonably. Balancing life.

    Heidi P. wrote on May 15th, 2012
  19. I must say this is one of the biggest contributors to hard feeling I have towards my wife. I have to compete with her smart phone for any attention. And the smart phone wins.

    Vince wrote on May 15th, 2012
  20. Interesting choice of posts, considering 50% of the commenters for yesterday’s post wanted an app!

    Meesha wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • HAHAHA!!!!!

      croí wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I thought of that too. lol!

      Leah H wrote on May 15th, 2012
  21. Good article! I’m totally up for this challenge. I need to disconnect more.

    I’m blown away at how many parents I see at the playground with their heads down staring at their phones, while their little ones go on about playing and being children… it’s really sad actually..

    mars wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • Meh. I’m not buying into guilt on this one. My kids don’t need me to watch their every movement, every moment. I used to go to the park alone, or roam the neighborhood with a pack of other kids. Were my parents missing out on my precious development? Was I missing out on my parents’ nurturing presence? No. We were doing our own things and it was awesome.

      em wrote on May 24th, 2012
    • That said, I find the number of babies tucked away in car seats and strollers and ignored like so much baggage to be appalling. And the fact that jogging strollers come with iPod holders. Not being able to see *or* hear your baby… Yeah, that’s good parenting.

      em wrote on May 24th, 2012
  22. I don’t have a smartphone (dumped that fun-stealer last fall) but the computer definitely commands all of my attention. I accept this challenge and will shut down internet access at 7pm. Maybe I will finally finish my writing projects!

    Thanks for the push!

    The Jaded NYer wrote on May 15th, 2012
  23. I’ve managed to shun technology pretty effectively for the past few years.

    Especially when travelling abroad, I don’t take a phone and only check e-mails every month or so.

    Whenever I’m travelling with a friend who insists on using a mobile, I scowl at them until they stop or abandon them.

    I think this makes me a better person.

    ChaiKe wrote on May 15th, 2012
  24. I’m skeptical. Who is this “we” you speak of?

    Technology saves labor which reduces stress.

    I work behind a laptop all day and I tend to not be on it when I am not working but I still use my mobile phone which can do almost everything my PC can do…and I am less stressed for not having to sit behind my laptop when I am not “on the clock”.

    Besides, it seems incompatible to use the interwebz to critique the way technology affects “our” livelihoods.

    Goyo wrote on May 15th, 2012
  25. My New Year’s resolution was to unplug…the laptop and blackberry are put away at 6pm weekdays and they don’t get used on weekends, holidays or vacations any more. Life is much much better!

    Ida Palma wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • Way to go, Ida!

      Leah H wrote on May 15th, 2012
  26. I remembered this weekend’s “Mom & Kids” overnight camping trip and thought, “Ha! Great timing! I get to check the 8+ box!” Then I remember I sent 2 texts to my husband while we were camping — one to let him know we arrived safely and one to send him a picture of the kids fishing. I did forgo all e-mail, phone calls, web surfing and other electronics while camping. We were certainly fully engaged in “real life” out in nature. But it was very comforting to have access to the technology to use in a mindful way. Anyway, those texts put in in the 6-8 hour range instead of 8+.

    PeaceKaren wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • I think sending a text to let your significant other that you are okay should be exempt. As a husband I am always happy to know that my wife and/or kids have arrived safely at their destination.

      I don’t think that your use of technology violated the spirit of this challenge. It is not like you were on Facebook while the kids were fishing.

      spayne wrote on May 15th, 2012
  27. For the past year or so, I’ve noticed how my attention at home is on my smartdevices instead of my love. Thank you for this challenge! I will not be connected to technology and will instead focus on my girl. Oh gosh…. it is an addiction.

    Mel wrote on May 15th, 2012
  28. Wow that’s a pretty serious challenge! While I can’t stand when people are staring at their smartphones while I’m trying to talk to them, I am guilty of leaving my phone on 24/7. I’ll try it after 9 p.m. for the next 7 days and then work my way earlier.

    Tom wrote on May 15th, 2012
  29. As the parent of a young child, after he goes to bed is exactly when I check my email. I repudiate the challenge!

    Ion Freeman wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • i think that its good you are not checking e-mail when you are spending time with the kids!i think that should “count” for this…imho

      HopelessDreamer wrote on May 16th, 2012
  30. One part of the challenge should be to put your phone away while driving. As a motorcyclist, bicyclist and fellow driver, I would really appreciate it if everyone would put down their phone and pay attention to the road.

    I am not perfect, I have caught myself doing this myself many times (almost t-boned someone once) and decided that from now on my phone is going in my trunk or pocket while I’m behind the wheel.

    I challenge all of you to do the same.

    (Oh, and only checking your phone at lights does not count. It just screws up traffic when you don’t go because you didn’t notice the light had changed.)

    spayne wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • It’s illegal here to use your phone while driving. They are super, super strict about it, thankfully.

      Nionvox wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • I am starting to believe it should be a federal law in the U.S.

        spayne wrote on May 16th, 2012
  31. Since I live in one of the few places in the United States that smartphones don’t really work (yet), I don’t really have that problem (though I still check my email to much.)

    However, every time I leave I am amazed at all the people staring at their tiny screens. Even just waiting for coffee in the morning or at a table in a restaurant. It still seems crazy to me.

    Eric Evans wrote on May 15th, 2012
  32. I get so much crap for my flip phone but am totally committed to it. That being said, I am more addicted to it than I would like to be – constantly checking texts and the likes. The only reason I made it into the 4-6 range is because my work (Waitressing) forbids us from carrying them around with us. I will accept your challenge, Mark, although will leave my phone on to accept calls (because trying to coordinate outings on weekend nights without calling is…impossible). Thanks for the challenges!

    Abigaillyn wrote on May 15th, 2012
  33. Definitely guilty of this. The constant access to e-mail (and the workplace expectation of an immediate response to e-mail) has got to be a chronic stressor. I don’t think I’ve gone more than 3 waking hours in between e-mail checks this calendar year. Even my morning 2-mile walk to work is accompanied by music in the headphones, random web-surfing, and at least one click of the Gmail reload button. A dog might help.

    Sri wrote on May 15th, 2012
  34. “The fear” got me when I saw today’s post title and the picture of a smartphone, but I think I can do this. I’ve been making more of an effort to do so anyway. I keep reminding myself that (fill in the blank) is more important than what’s on my phone and that the internet will still be there in an hour, or whenever the kids have gotten their needs attended to. Good challenge, I’ll give it a go. Oh, and the sprinting? I don’t run unless I’m chasing my kids. Which does happen. I re-instated an old knee injury practicing my grok squat a few weeks ago and it’s taking its own sweet time rerurning to a pain-free state.

    yoolieboolie wrote on May 15th, 2012
  35. I seem to be one of the few that has gone 8+ hours unplugged.

    Since I live on the west coast and most of my friends and family are back east, it’s easy to have my cell phone off at night because of the time difference. Even though, now that I’ve been here for a while my new friends get frustrated when they can’t get me in the evenings…but, I have a home phone they can call me on if they really, really need me. I also don’t take my phone on my walks, even though sometimes I wonder if I should for emergency reasons, but I really don’t want to be bothered or tempted to check my phone while I’m out.

    I’ve gotten in the habit that once my boyfriend gets home, I’m not on the internet. He’ll check his e-mail when he first gets home and just before bed, but the rest of the time is our time together. I also spend very limited time on-line on weekends. We also have a rule that when his 13 year old son stays with us, he’s not allowed to be plugged in to his iPod Touch. We want him to know that human/in-person interaction and communication are priority.

    Even though I do make these efforts, I do find myself mindlessly on the internet, checking FB, playing mindless games, etc., meanwhile thinking to myself I should get off and go do something. Oh, but wait, I’m just going to check one more thing…..famous last words!

    Carol wrote on May 15th, 2012
  36. The other evening around 8 p.m. my phone battery died and rather than plug it in and continue using it, I left it off. It felt so strange!!! I am going to do the challenge too! My kids and I play a lot of games together on our smart phones so I will miss doing that though.

    Carla wrote on May 15th, 2012
    • You could try doing a game night with real board games or cards. Seems like no one does this anymore, but it was a regular occurance in my house growing up and we still do it when all the siblings get together at my parents house for the holidays. It always brings back great memories and even creates new ones! My kids love the game closet at grandma and grandpa’s :-)

      Marie wrote on May 15th, 2012
      • Love those games. We play Scrabble and bought a bar table with a revolving game middle – Scrabble, chess and checkers.

        I like to pull out the Monopoly when friends come over. First they roll their eyes, then they get into it big time. We also have an electronic bar-style dart board. Folks have forgotten about these fun social things.

        At a friend’s house we played DDR – Dance-Dance-Revolution. See that? So much laughing…

        HillsideGina wrote on May 15th, 2012
  37. I have an office that overlooks the Trinity River here in Fort Worth, Texas. I was looking out my window the other day and saw a couple on the stone bridge that crosses the river. It was a beautiful day. The were both sitting there texting!

    And Internet Addiction Disorder? Sounds like a big pharma invention to sell more drugs to me.

    Dave, RN wrote on May 15th, 2012
  38. I love this challenge, but I’m going to switch up the hours a little for myself. I’m a SAHM with three kids at home, and while I don’t have a smartphone, I keep FB running on the laptop ALL DAY. Awful. My challenge is to keep the laptop CLOSED between 8:30am and nap time. No more “quick checks”! Thanks for this push!

    Jaclyn wrote on May 15th, 2012
  39. I completed 8 sets of 30 second hill sprints with 90 seconds rest in between.

    Chris Bryner wrote on May 15th, 2012
  40. I mainly use technology to my advantage so I’m not usually stressed by it. I keep all else simple.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on May 15th, 2012

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