Addicted to you


It’s school holidays time again. A time I really encourage the kids to just be and chill out. Do nothing. Yesterday I was stoked that the normal no TV past 8am thing in the morning still existed (most days for us we let the kids watch some TV until 8am and then it’s off for reading or homework or playing till we leave for School at 9am, yes I let my children watch TV in the mornings). The girls spent the day outside in the garden, playing with little people in trees, playing Doctors, playing planes, playing. It was great. We lasted until about 4pm when they came inside and packed down for the night. They went to bed without any dramas. Oh it’s nice when it all works out isn’t it?

One thing I noticed when I was out there with the kids was my checking of my stupid phone.


I am always going on to the kids about limiting time on phones and iPads, screens, devices. And yet, I am the worst of all. What has happened to us?


I love what the internet has given us. What a smart phone has done for me. I mean it’s what I do for a living. It’s connected me with some amazing people. Given me friends I would never have met otherwise. Helped me travel to some pretty amazing places. It inspires me and gives me ideas on how to be creative, how to furnish my home, how to feed my family, where to travel in the world, how to dress, ideas on ways to spend time with my kids. It’s given me life lines when I have been desperately lonely at home with kids, answers to problems that I have had, made me laugh when I could have cried. It’s silly and it’s wonderful.


It’s also allowed complete strangers to come and judge and comment and tell me what they think of me. I’ve had abusive messages, emails, comments spewed at me. People can be pretty tough online when there is a screen between them and the online world. I’ve seen abuse and vitriol directed at people that beggars belief. I’ve seen how ignorant people can be, how hateful, how blinkered their views on the world can be. I’ve seen people crippled by what people will think. Comparing their lives to others. Judging people’s choices. Just because they can. It’s frightening. It’s eye opening.


I really worry about us all. I do. Our addictions to our technologies. Our need to stay connected. Relevant. Our smart phones that are making us the dumbest generation we’ve ever been. I worry about what our kids see. What Maggie thinks when she sees me constantly on this “thing” that seems to take my attention away from her. What am I looking for? Why can’t I just look at what’s around me?

I worry at night when Rob and I have the kids down and there we sit, sometimes side by side, TV on and thumbs scrolling up. Up. Up.

Where are we going?

I know that there’s a simple solution. Stop doing it, but like any kind of addiction, it always finds a way of coming back. Those good intentions of putting the phone away at night somehow sees you checking it in the kitchen when you’re grabbing that cup of tea. Just to see. Just to check in.

What are we looking for?

These holidays I am banning myself from my phone. Sure, I’ll pop up the odd photo on Instagram (I do love Instagram for those little captured quiet moments throughout the day) but other than that I’m going to ban myself. Like a Mum would ban her addicted kid. My phone is going to be really well charged these holidays I think.

Do you worry about the amount of time you spend on your phone?
Any tips of weaning yourself off it?
Are our kids going to look back on this time and think WHAT WERE THEY DOING?

Images from :Β Architecture & Design


  1. Peri whitehead says

    Recently whilst attending a indoor soccer game with my grandson I took a moment to observe the other family members seated watching their children. Every single one of them was on their phones, nobody watching the kids playing. I thought at the time what must the kids think when they kick the ball and turn to mum or dad for a thumbs up well done, only to see they are not even watching

  2. I so agree with you, Beth. And now living with a teenager it drives me mad how long he will stay connected on his iPad. Am going to do the 9pm modem turn off and make him read a book instead (myself included because I can be just as bad). I am anticipating a fierce debate and a lot of eye rolling (and the old last minute ” but I have homework to do”).

  3. Ouch!
    I am hopelessly addicted to my phone and iPad.
    While I’m not working I’ve noticed that my usage has gone WAY UP, which is dumb because I can’t afford for it to go up at all. I use it to fill time, to soothe boredom, and for the ace stuff you’ve mentioned – connection, podcasts, inspiration and the oh so good, laugh out loud stuff that’s out there.
    But, yes, it’s an issue. I need a job so I can get off my phone, as well as pay my bills.
    Right now I’m at the library, where the internet is free and easy, doing some job hunting, reading some blogs, connecting.
    I wonder if the introduction of radio and television generated the same concerns, pulling us away from pursuits previously enjoyed.
    It’s a problem. And as bloggers, we’re part of it! But I totally get the upside… so much good stuff comes from the scrolling and the tapping, but I guess we miss stuff too.
    Single tasking maybe? Is that the way, here’s my 10 minute scrolling block of time, after that, phone down…
    Scrollers Anonymous, anyone?

  4. Yes that is so me. I tell the kids all the time to get off their devices and hear I am sitting on mine. I love how it connects us all but it can definitely take away from the everyday moments. School holidays here too and we are enjoying the downtime. I love that you get to take the girls to school at 9. We have to leave home around 7.40!!

  5. I agree with you , its become a major addiction. I’m not so bad , but my two teen daughters, are out of control We have phone down times etc, but you take 1 gadget and they have 2 others, and even been known to find old old phones and get them going, just to be connected! They use the “homework excuse” and I’ve even sat behind them to observe their screens to see the homework. Its tiring business keeping an eye on gadget use! I’m starting to see negatives outweigh the benefits. Rant over!

  6. I didn’t have a smartphone until midway through last year. Then I got a smartphone and an iPad within months of each other.
    DANGEROUS. So dangerous. I particularly noticed it one night when, after telling my daughter off for bringing a toy to the dining room table at dinnertime, I placed my phone beside my plate. I looked at it, then put it on the bench. Now dinners, at least, are a banned time.
    I also have a phone plan with very limited roaming, and no SIM in my iPad. So it’s wifi at home, or I have to pay extra for the connection while we’re out and about. It’s a lot easier to resist the urges to quickly check Facebook when we’re at the park when I know it will cost me (extra) money. x

  7. I used to carry around a book, for those quiet moments of waiting, and now I carry a phone. Podcasts, ebooks, FB, Twitter…. Last week (school hols in Qld) I deleted Kindle, FB and Twitter from my phone, and changed any blogs that got sent to the phone, to go to the email address that is only on the computer.
    It was weird and more difficult than I like to admit.

    But I saw some things: the joyous moments between the kids that are silent (they don’t often call out “Mum look at this” when they are in their bliss), the rolling waves, a scurrying crab, two busy birds making a nest, two old people exchanging a smile and holding hands as they shuffled to a cafe, a pelican stretching itself up out of the water, a silvery flash that might have been a dolphin or a trick of the light, a bead of wax slipping down the side of a candle…

    I think I was beginning to only see beauty when I was trying to snap it up for Instagram. In fact, I think I was trying to make beauty so that I COULD snap it up for Instagram

    But these moments?
    They were just for me.

  8. That pic of the people with suntan outline is gold!! ha ha!! yeah Im getting pretty conscious of it and feeling a bit guilty sometimes. Hubby and I are guilty as charged sitting next to each other scrolling away most evenings. Its just entertainment plus on the I phone!! I might just start with a one evening a night ban for now. We might forget how to talk to eachother….

  9. Lauren @fairview_farmhouse says

    So true Beth, everything you said. I’m not working, a SAHM of four soon to be five kids but I feel like it’s my lifeline to the outside world. All my kids are quite young (under 7) and I feel like I reach for my phone for a multitude of reasons. I do worry when they get older that the kids will think I’m a hypocrite. It’s a difficult problem, not easily resolved. ?

  10. This year my partner is working away from home and I knew I had to step up to be much more organised and calm for our three children. So I made the pledge that there would be no technology for me from school pick up until kids in bed. If I go to it for “information” like weather updates, recipes etc I get sucked in every time so I just don’t allow myself to do it anymore. It’s really hard, I have to remind myself often to put it out of sight! Rewarding though in that the whole evening routine runs much more smoothly when I am without the distraction. I hate how addicted society has become in a relatively short time frame and I also hate how I feel at day’s end of “over scrolling”. Determined to not let it dominate our family “downtime”. Outside adventuring, reading, talking, daydreaming and playing will remain my priority even when it requires more energy and coercion than saying yes to the screens. Needless to say I am typing this from my bathroom while my 3yr old has the iPad after we’ve been out engaging with the world all morning!

  11. Hi Beth, I’ve found the same issue too, as so many others have put here more eloquently than me. This is the solution I have found. I consciously schedule ‘no screen’ time in my diary. Isn’t the world crazy that it’s come to that? But it does work. It goes something like this: 10.00am – 2.00pm no screen time, then its screen time (not constantly on, but allowable screen time) til say 6.00pm. Then its no screen time 6.00pm-9.30pm, cause that’s when I see my partner. I have to go to bed early as an early work start in the mornings, so I allow myself 9.30pm-10.00pm to check various forms of email and social media, then the phone is turned off until the next morning (otherwise it pings with various updates during the night).

  12. Sam Leader says

    Truth! Is the internet amazing? Yes. Is it being used responsibly? NO! Two eye opening articles on the topic: and I hope you find your screenfast nourishing, please report back!

  13. I’m hearing you loud and clear. Unfortunately to allow me to be around during school holidays it requires my phone. I am an EA who has an amazing boss that allows me to work remotely to let me spend time with my kids. It is difficult to explain to the kids that its the phone or its the office… they are old enough to understand but they still don’t like it.. especially when I’m trying to limit their time on devices too. Vicious circle..

    • I’m sure your kids would understand if it;s work and how amazing that you can work from your phone? See? Amazing and evil all at once!

  14. I love this, Beth – I love your honesty as always. I worry about our kids and their generation, and what follows.. everything is so over the top with technology – I saw an ad yesterday for a watch that converts to a drone and just flies off your wrist into the sky to record something if you happen to be walking along and think SHIT! LOOK AT THAT! I MUST FILM THIS THING IN FRONT OF ME RIGHT THIS SECOND OR I MIGHT DIE! How stupid is that?! Like a watch can’t just be a watch anymore..? Like we can’t just see things WITH OUR EYES, we must film them or the thing that happened didn’t really happen because it wasn’t uploaded to social media.. Things must have multiple purposes to make our lives easier or better or whatever some stupid marketing gimmick wants us to believe. I get that we need to stay connected in this day and age – our businesses and livelihood rely on it – and for that I am torn. I love IG for it’s community but loathe FB – yet I need to be there for business, like a necessary evil. Because you NEED to be where people are if you want them to see you, to employ you. Because if you don’t exist online, it’s as if you don’t exist at all! Recently I went to see James Bay in concert and we sat behind rows and rows of people who watched the whole gig through their phone screens. Recording as much of it as they could – gramming, facebooking, snapchatting through his beautiful music – I wanted to scream WHHHYYYYYY???? They could have just watched someone else’s crummy video on Youtube a few hours later for the same experience. I agree – where ARE we going?! x (And yes, I realise this comment is very poorly put together..)

  15. Lisa Mckenzie says

    So true Beth I use my phone and iPad but not on the scale that teens and my children in their 20s do ,I’ve even started buying real books again so I put down my iPad it’s too easy to be reading your book and a comment from FB or Ig comes up and you go and read that instead of your also causes” text neck “which puts 25kgs of pressure on your neck and for me that’s a good reason to not do it so much!

  16. Last year when I was blogging it felt like my phone was permanently attached to me. I quit Facebook & my blog at the beginning of December & it felt good. This month one if my challenges is no Instagram from Friday night until Monday morning. It’s GREAT!! It feels so freeing & I get so. much. done! It’ll be a permanent thing for sure. Slowly I’m breaking my phone, reminding myself that I have other things to do, that not everything needs to be shared, to not instantly jump online when I think of something I want to know about. It’s hard but I hate being so into phone.

    • Such great tips Reannon – so glad it’s been an improvement for you. I am most definitely heading this way myself (except the not quitting blogging thing, I’ll stick with that).

  17. Lisa Aherne says

    My problem is my iPad! I can find things to do on it from morning to night if I let myself. Facebook, mail, Instagram, jigsaw puzzles. All ok, but there is too much of it. I have started knitting and that makes me put it down from time to time. I think I must write up a daily schedule which limits iPad use and try to stick to it!

    • That’s what I need to do Lisa…take up knitting and keep my hands busy creating something! At least I would have something to show for it.

  18. There was a programme on fox the other night about the lives of 6 year olds and a couple of the children said despairingly that their mums were always on their phones! Out of the mouth of babes.

    I am a grandmother and I have noticed the young mothers are always on their phones and then lament the fact they have no time to put the washing away or clean up or whatever. If I had spent the amount of time that everyone does now on a computer/phone/device I wouldn’t have got a thing done.

    • I have been meaning to watch that show Poppy (having my own 6 year old) must look it up and see if I can catch it online. Oops…online!

  19. I love your words here – an acknowledgement of the good things about the online world but also a very welcome wake up call. X

  20. I’m actually pretty good at disconnecting (bad for business though!) I was heartily sick and tired of absorbing other people’s negativity though, so I took the FB and Instagram apps off my phone for a bit last year and only checked them when I was on a computer. I didn’t check instagram for 3 months once. The world went on and I went out and enjoyed it x

    • That’s it – bad for business! Plus if I can do bits and pieces through the day I don’t feel so overwhelmed when I sit down at night. 3 months? Dear LORD I need to start with weekends I think.

      • Yeah you can tell I was pretty burned out by that stage! I didn’t even miss it. Facebook was good because I did it once or twice a day instead of mindless scrolling. I started looking in cookbooks again for recipes! I felt so 1998

  21. Yes. It’s like you’ve taken the thoughts straight out of my head! I find myself constantly telling the kids “Just a minute I’m just…(texting, watching, reading,… )” it’s shocking. I am definitely addicted and my husband is even worse. Good luck with your phone-free holidays. I might have to take a leaf out of your book…

  22. Gabs Howlett says

    I go to yoga a lot now. You have to turn your phone off and I’ve realised after a month or so that when I used to madly turn it on that I missed nothing in those 60 minutes it was turned off. It’s helped me let go of screen addiction, I even turn my phone off at night now, like off off! Love your blog and your Insta account Beth, it’s worth having screen time for ?

  23. This resonated with me so much Beth! I have been guilty of leaving dirty utensils for morning, for hours of mindless browsing on Facebook, Instagram, Buzzfeed and what not πŸ˜› I am trying to get a grip over myself, but it is really hard being an adult, not having your mum do the small thing that you tend to take for granted, like cooking and cleaning and of course yelling at you for spending too much time on phone πŸ˜›

  24. I really need to try harder.
    I do make an effort in my own way. I make sure that if I’m on a device, I look up at my child when he talks to me (unless I’m doing something important and he needs to learn to wait a second). I don’t take my phone into swimming lessons with me. I spend the whole time watching how he’s going so I can praise him for the good stuff later.
    BUT…I admit that during the term I found myself feeling bored all the time. Wishing I could check my phone more. I don’t like that addicted feeling.
    There’s nothing wrong with technology – it’s just how we use it that worries me.

  25. I’ve just this weekend deleted social media from my phone. I can check it on my computer, but I’m finding that I do that maybe once during the day instead of constantly. My husband has given up the socials for a month. It just got too much – and something interesting was very very rare.

  26. I hear ya! Once when we went out for dinner, I left my phone at home (by mistake obvs,) and my husband was so pleased because he said now I’d be able to talk to him. I was horrified at how much time I spent on my phone. We’ve made the bedroom screen free which means my phone is not the first thing I see in the morning or the last thing I look at before I go to bed – now I just have to work on the daytime hours! It kind of makes me sad that today’s generation won’t know what it was like in the “old days” before smartphones when we had no other choice than to talk to each other!

    • Remember going out? When you didn’t know if anyone was going to be out, or where you would meet, so you just kind of showed up? Those were the days!

  27. good morning maggie in websta soo cute!
    all that media is not a good thing! … too invasive for the psyche!
    limiting time is important!
    I only use my laptop so don’t take social media with me!
    lucky that I don’t need it! got better things to do! … I know i’m older! lol m:)X

  28. This is such a big thing right now isn’t it! πŸ™
    I find that when I feel that I’m using the phone too much I delete the apps that I seem to automatically go to.
    OR I move their location on the home screen and if I ‘auto pilot’ to click on them in lulls in the day I know that they need to be deleted for awhile!!
    Hope you’ve had some success. It’s definitely nice to leave the phone aside and enjoy the little moments you may miss otherwise!
    Even my 1yo can say ‘Nooooo phone.’ and grab it from my hand!! That’s saying something!

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