I don’t know about you, but I can safely say that my iPhone is my most prized possession, one that goes with me any time I leave the house and is most often either in my hand or right next to me. I sleep with it beside me so I can look at it first thing in the morning, both to keep up with what my friends are doing and for work purposes. Obviously, I’m not the only one; a 2015 study found that collectively, Americans check their smartphones 8 billion times a day, and the average American checks their phone 46 times each day, up from 33 times in 2014.
Some of us may realize we have a problem, but feel powerless to do anything about it. Not so Edgewater resident Iris Tirri, a mom of three who decided she’d had enough when she missed a major parenting milestone because she was too busy looking at her phone. She told the blog Hoboken Girl that while the she was somewhat aware of her tech-induced distraction, a recent incident made the reality of its effects crystal clear. She explained, “All the kids were home playing and, I was looking down at my phone. I was scrolling aimlessly through my newsfeed doing nothing of importance and all of a sudden [my daughter] Melissa started yelling at me to look up. Frankie [my son] was walking! I had missed his first steps.”
But cutting back wasn’t enough for Iris; she’s embarked on an entire year when she plans to go entirely without using a smartphone (land lines are okay though) as well as Facebook and Instagram. Her tech-free 365 days started this week, and while Iris knows it will be a major challenge, she believes the rewards will outweigh the downsides. “I am most excited about finding quiet within my own head. I’m constantly mentally multitasking. The phone contributes to that.”
Iris told CBS New York that she wants to be more present as a mom. “I feel that I am missing part of my children’s life. The amount of time I spend on my iPhone is just awful.”
Iris is going old school, with the help of a Polaroid camera and a paper journal to help her document her days, but without the umpteen distractions a smartphone, with its constant buzzing, can bring.
She also wants to enjoy a touch of nostalgia for the types of devices we used pre-cell phone (if you are old enough to remember those times!). “Basically I want to recreate the simpler times of my own childhood [the 80s and 90s],” Iris explained to Hoboken Girl. “The landline was a big part of that. I can still remember my best friends phone number from 1st grade! Disconnecting isn’t about losing touch with the ones I love.” Anyone who has no idea of their friends and family members’ phone numbers because they’re stored in your phone can certainly relate!
While we at OMJ can’t live without our technology, we applaud Iris for her big step in tackling such a common modern dilemma.