People are becoming addicted to their cell phones!

The thing is, many of us can still look back to those medieval times and remember what life was like without them. Our kids, however, won’t have such reflections. They can’t compare a life without because they’ve always had. Pretty sad, isn’t it?

On my walk last week, I came upon a mother who was walking her little boy, perhaps four years old, holding his hand. She had to hold on tight to his left hand because his eyes were glued to the iPhone he was carrying with the right. She was pretty much dragging him the entire time. His legs moved with her, but his brain and eyes were fixated on the device. The snarky lady in me wanted to blurt out, “starting him young, eh?” I kept my mouth shut.

Taking my daughter to Washington State University a few weekends ago and walking around the campus was a real eye opener. Part of me was shocked yet at the same time it was not surprising at all. As we strolled around the campus, just about every student we saw during this first week in school was walking around looking down at their phone. All I could think about is all of the missed connections they are walking past every moment of every day. They have absolutely no idea what they are missing.

So many times, it was looking up and having my eyes open that changed the trajectory of my life. If I were looking down at a phone, my life would have gone a million other directions.

Sitting in my window seat on the airplane, running away from my life, the last man to walk in before they closed the cabin doors literally took my breath away. He didn’t see me but oh my, I saw him. The moment I saw him, I felt like I was going to die! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that that man would be my husband. 2.5 years later, I married him and started my new life in Ohio. The marriage was not supposed to last, but he became the white knight who rescued me and got me out of my downward spiral of a life in Las Vegas.

Fast forward to 1995. If I were looking down at a phone, I wouldn’t have seen the man across the room full of single people. We made eye contact. 2.5 years later, we were married. Today we have a 17-year-old daughter (who has an iPhone)!

I can’t imagine living in a world where my head isn’t held high to soak in the sights and enjoy the incredible variety of humans I see on a daily basis. We never know when we will be near that next connection we are destined to meet. If we are looking down as they go by, we will never know what we lost. It will be gone, forever! We will never have that same chance again.

I heard 17 and 18-year-old kids interviewed after they returned from a week-long summer camp where they were not allowed to bring phones. At first, the kids all agreed leaving their phone at home was incredibly hard to do. In no time, one of the boys said he picked up a book and couldn’t put it down because he forgot how much he loved to read. Many of the girls talked about how fun it was making so many new friends. Every kid in this camp was looking up and living with the others for seven days. Imagine what this experience would have been like if they had phones 24/7. They would get to know the people in their cabin, but that would be it. They wouldn’t see anyone else. Their camp experience would be on their snapchat story.

Have you ever seen a sports team as they are hanging out waiting for their practice or game to start? They usually sit in a circle, all facing each other, all looking at their phones. It’s absolutely everywhere.

Have you witnessed how crazy a teenager can get when you take away their phone? I think this is the bottom line problem we are facing. Parents are so afraid to parent their children; they allow the teen to dictate phone usage. Taking the phone away is like taking away the needle to the heroin user. They go freaking nuts! Frankly, I don’t believe parents are geared to handle this reaction. Their sweet child goes ballistic and loses control in a matter of seconds. How can you be best friends with your child and take away their phone? You can’t. Parents need to be screamed at and here “I hate you” to be effective. It’s how a kid lashes out.

Check out this video of a young lady when she loses her phone. She landed on Dr. Phil. This is how the girl views herself:

How about this? A dad gets arrested for taking away his daughters phone, picture below! Video here.

These phones have become crack to our kids. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try this little experiment. Set up a video recorder. When your child comes home, tell them for whatever reason, you have decided they no longer should have a phone with access to social media. Tell them you got them an old flip phone. Go ahead… try it. I promise your eyes will open crazy wide like never before. I’ve seen it first hand. It’s amazing how my little angel can launch to another planet in a microsecond.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing a family somewhere together with each member looking down at their phone, all ages. I see it starting in my own house more and more every day. I am the only one that has to scramble to find my phone when I need it. It’s not on me.

There is nothing as special as a conversation with another human. You can hear their passion with inflection in their voice. You can see it with the sparkle in their eyes. I prefer sitting upright, chin up, eyes straight ahead – looking at the person I am connecting with, really putting the whole picture together.

Try this exercise to show your kids that when they text, what they say can and will be misunderstood. Have them say the following sentence seven times out loud, changing the emphasis on a different word each time they repeat it.

I never said she stole my money. 

Did they hear how one sentence can be taken seven different ways just with the accent on one word? I hope it opened their eyes, just a little.

How will high school kids know how to connect to a variety of humans “socially” when they leave home, after being connected via social media their entire life? I don’t think we can know the answer today, but we will in a few years as we watch it unfold.

Short of having a 30 day power outage with no way to recharge electronics, I don’t know how we will get kids (and adults) to put down their devices. The only option I can think of… perhaps the NoPhone Air? Here’s the website. If they have something to hold, perhaps it may help with the addiction. Like a fake cigarette? I don’t know the answer but am open to hearing all suggestions.

No Phone Air