To Smartphone or not to Smartphone, that is the question.

A 2015 study conducted by the Pew Research Center showed a snapshot of the average smartphone consumers and their relationship with the devise.

  •  2/3 of Americans own smartphones.
  • 15% of Americas ages 18-29 use Smartphones for their online use.
  • 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
  • 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
  • 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
  • 43% looked up info about their job.
  • 40% to look up government services or information.
  • 30% to take a class or get educational content.
  • 18% to submit a job application.-

54% of Smartphone users say their phone is not always needed.

46% say it is something they couldn’t live without it.


After reading those statistics how you do you feel about your smart phone in your life?  Do you have a love hate relationship?  Do you sleep with each other?  Do you interact for as long as a high percentage of American adults – 3 hours a day!? It can take a long time for us to get comfortable with the honest answers to these questions and many other that ultimately compete with higher states of well being for ourselves.

Try asking yourself how my phone contributes in a good way to my life, and what would life be like without the phone”.  This is an interesting exercise if you are able to be honest with yourself.  Be aware of the excuses you supply yourself like, “I check my weather from my phone, and without it I won’t know if I should bring an umbrella or jacket for later”… I promise you there are other ways to find out if you need to prepare for inclement weather!   Ask yourself this question for 1 week.  You might find yourself becoming more and more honest with yourself as the days past, and still find a logic to keep your smart phone around.  Thats ok!  What you are doing is bringing a new set of perspectives into focus, and ultimately you could be building a new relationship with your phone.


Photos.  The phone was used to capture life events with our kids, family, family, food, sites of amusement, art, ect.  And there are even individuals who buy their phones based on their cameras, we all know then! Ask your self this questions,  “Is my phone contributing in a good way for me to preserve life’s amazing moments? Yes, the phone is a multi use tool, it is the phone and a camera.  You no longer need to carry a camera and a phone around as two separate devises! Do you print your cell phone pictures?  If you phone gets lost of stollen, or your computer crashes, would you loose some/most/all of your digital pictures.  Maybe your new relationship becomes that you take your camera with you on certain days, like when you go to the river with your family or friends, or you celebrate a special event, or go somewhere special in the world.  A fun past time for many of us is to sit and look at old picture albums with our family and friends.  One of my fondest memories is looking at my old pictures with my kids next to me, teaching them about who their mommy was before they were born!  Digital or traditional, asking you yourself about the cell phone in your life as a camera is a great way to help you define what you really want. 


Time Robber.  This is a hard reality to face, but we each can do it with our inner bravery.  The questions was, “Do I spend time on my phone while my friends, loved ones, or even kids are sharing space with me?” It is not an uncommon sight where you can see a groups of people on their phone’s while at a restaurant sitting with others at the same table, or individually sitting at a coffee shop interacting with social media rather than the person sitting at the next table, or my favorite which is sitting on the train and noticing your the only one without your phone out.  A fun game to play for a day is try to spot the people who are NOT on their phones while your out and about town or even at home.  But do it with an open mind and ask yourself if that looks like you from time to time.  Being honest with yourself is the only way to redefine our relationships in life, and this includes the one with our smart phone. And remember, you don’t have to vocalize any of these answers, you doing this for you!  The title of this blog caught your attention because you have already had similar questions rattling around your head.

How to cut the cord and set new boundaries

  1. Try leaving your phone in locations that you can not see it or hear it, or plugged in with the volume turned off.
  2. Practice not getting up to respond to the new alert you just heard.
  3. Turn the cellular data off as an exercise.  On the iPhone, you can go into the settings, select cellular, and then turn off data.  It would turn my iPhone into an iPod with a phone.  By doing this you can enable the phone capabilities, but deactivate your ability to  surf the internet or Facebook, not check mail, ect.
  4. Delete those apps that consume your attention.  I.e. Facebook!
  5. Define what your new relationship is with you smart phone, and set some boundaries around the areas of you life that you think will for you highest good, and those who’s lives you effect.


Nomi Shmerling, Ph.D (c)

Leave a Reply