Author Topic: Give up your smart phone for your kids?  (Read 2396 times)

Jon Bon

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Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« on: January 20, 2019, 08:26:41 PM »
So I like pretty much all of us, pay way to much attention to my smart phone. I check it constantly, get into a panic if I leave the house without it. Feel the need to compulsively look up any information that I am curious about.

The thing is, my kids have started to notice. There have been a few times where they have asked me (in so many words) to pay more attention to them and less to my phone.

I am thinking about downgrading my phone. Maybe something from late last decade? Something that can Call/text/email only. Has anyone done this? I feel I would still be in complete contact with the world an get 80% of the needed functions out of my phone, but with out the mindless inter-netting that I do that is just non-value added.

Any advice on type of phone or service?

I feel like my issue is some of these phones might be too old to work with newer services?

AMandM

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 09:05:49 PM »
I think this a great idea, but I don't know whether it is feasible. Mainly, I don't know if you can get email without getting the whole internet. Also, you are right to be concerned about compatibility. Until this past summer, we had a pay-as-you-go phone from 2014 with Tracfone service. It didn't get internet at all, so no email. It had a small, non-touch screen, so receiving pictures was almost pointless. One of the reasons we replaced it with an upgrade is that it started not receiving texts properly--no group texts, no texts containing emojis, no long texts. Also it didn't work in Canada.

If you can live without the email, though, or be disciplined enough to do only that and only at certain times, you might look into Ting. You can set it not to use cellular data, so that you only have access to the internet when you're on wifi. Or you could allow yourself a small amount of data, just enough for email, and you can set it to warn you or to cut you off once you reach that limit.

okits

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 09:34:49 PM »
I’ve stayed on a cheap flip phone mainly for the addiction and distraction issues you described.  I bought it new from my carrier three years ago; they do still exist.  I suppose I could use it for internet (not included in my plan) but the screen and keyboard are so crappy that I just use it to make phone calls.  (I know.  Wild.)

I’m in Canada but I’d be shocked if we got anything telecom-related that Americans can’t get.

PickingDaisies

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 09:49:03 PM »
I am also one who looks at my phone way too much. I keep it because I use the maps and camera too often to go back to a flip phone.
I have stripped my phone of apps and limited through different settings what I can do with it. I still have the internet on mine, but restricted the time I am allowed on it.

If no other phone options fit your want for email/talk/text could you just have parental control on the phone you currently have? Change your cell plan to fit that data you need for email only, or just check it over WiFi.

Tass

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 11:28:37 PM »
This may not be the commitment that you're looking for, but I deleted all social apps from my phone and disabled Google Chrome. I still have the gmail app, and I still have a Google search bar - and my budgeting/bank apps - but I have tried to remove everything I use compulsively. That's an option if you can't find a different phone that meets your needs.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 04:47:24 AM »
I do not check my phone so often. The reasons for that are:
- I wear a watch and don't need to look at the phone to see the time.
- I have cancelled all push messages that the apps on my phone can produce. I only see facebook messages when opening FB. Mail is only visible when I actively refresh my mailbox.
- I have the cheapest phone plan with only 1/2 GB data. My data is default switched off. I turn it on when I want to synchronize my grocery list in the shop or read email when I'm not home.
- With my previous phone, I default had wifi switched off to save battery.
- I leave my phone in the living room when I go to bed. Often it is in my handbag, where I don't see it.

But I still use the iPad a lot. What could help, is installing an app that measures your screen-time, preferably over different devices. Maybe you can even find one that let's you define a time limit per day.
You can also try to not multitask and be more mindful. E.g. when you eat, you focus on eating and don't check your phone. When you watch TV, you watch that and not the content on your phone. When you play with your children, you focus on them and not your phone.

Why don't you start a challenge on the board to reduce your phone use to a minimum? https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/

AMandM

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 07:58:00 AM »
Also, you could put a basket or even a lockbox (with your kids having the key?!) near your front door and drop the phone there when you walk in the house. It would cut down on compulsive checking and looking up, and it would shoe your kids that when you are with them, the phone is not so important that it takes you away from them. You can reply to emails and texts and calls when you're done whatever you and the kids are doing.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 08:21:20 AM »
Apple has done a lot to get me away from my phone. I have an old iPhone 6? (I think). Once they hit $600-700 I just got pissed. Then I looked at what I actually "need" from my phone. I have no hard line to the house. I take pictures of wiring on furnaces and A/C units to help on re-assembly. I like to have the weather. I'm not big on texting as it lacks the other persons emotions. At that point I said screw it. Once you start to walk away from it you notice how stupid people really are with phones. They are literally zombie slaves to their device. It is like Pavlov and his dogs when it rings LOL!

Tass

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2019, 10:31:58 AM »
But I still use the iPad a lot. What could help, is installing an app that measures your screen-time, preferably over different devices. Maybe you can even find one that let's you define a time limit per day.

I recommend RescueTime.

Noodle

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2019, 11:12:17 AM »
I wouldn't give up my smart phone because a) I don't want to lose the mapping function and b) it syncs to my hearing aid. But those reasons are particular to me.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to think about what you do on your phone, and make those functions harder to access--if it's social media, delete the apps or at least turn off the alerts, if it's games or news, take those off, etc. Or keep your phone somewhere harder to reach, like a briefcase or backpack? Mine is in my purse all day and I don't think about it much if it's not next to me.

Jon Bon

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2019, 11:21:56 AM »
Great responses by all thank you.

Well I would probably keep the existing smart phone has a lot of data that I probably still need. Maybe in a box powered off type thing. I think a semi-smart phone might be worth it. Sure it has internet, but its so much trouble to use you wont unless its an emergency.  I already dont have any social apps, and have deleted many of my accounts I realized they were not making me happy, if anything they annoyed me.  So really its just mindless time spent on google chrome looking at random crap (and some time here!) Leaving it plugged in all day somewhere else and not in my pocket would also be an option then I have to get up to use it, like the computer.



 I think I just might try the dumb phone for a bit. I already give up beer for January, maybe I will give up my (life stealing) smart phone for February.
Just gotta figure out what type of phones will work on Ting.  I am glad to see lots of folks have figured out how to deal with this issue in their own lives.

mlipps

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2019, 11:32:34 AM »
Not the most mustachian solution perhaps...but my Apple watch has counter intuitively helped me a lot. I do like to know when people text and call me in a timely way, so I used to keep my phone close to me all the time. However, now that I have the watch, I can set my phone on one side of the room & leave it there. I get the alerts for the important communication, but don't need to pick it up or have it near me to do so, so when I do use it's more deliberate. Some of the Fitbits also have this functionality, but I like being to send quick replies from the watch personally. The older models have really come down in price lately as well--probably not much more expensive than buying a "dumb" phone.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2019, 12:51:42 PM »
Great responses by all thank you.

Well I would probably keep the existing smart phone has a lot of data that I probably still need. Maybe in a box powered off type thing. I think a semi-smart phone might be worth it. Sure it has internet, but its so much trouble to use you wont unless its an emergency.  I already dont have any social apps, and have deleted many of my accounts I realized they were not making me happy, if anything they annoyed me.  So really its just mindless time spent on google chrome looking at random crap (and some time here!) Leaving it plugged in all day somewhere else and not in my pocket would also be an option then I have to get up to use it, like the computer.



 I think I just might try the dumb phone for a bit. I already give up beer for January, maybe I will give up my (life stealing) smart phone for February.
Just gotta figure out what type of phones will work on Ting.  I am glad to see lots of folks have figured out how to deal with this issue in their own lives.

I really simplified my iPhone's apps and it has made a huge difference.  No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat. I kept Instagram but now only follow 75 or so people. The rest of the phone is either office-related (email, to-do list app, etc.) or media related that I use at my house (Netflix, Hulu, etc.).

I now don't check it very often and my use is way down.

dang1

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2019, 12:55:49 PM »
..Feel the need to compulsively look up any information that I am curious about. ..

why do you have the need to compulsively look up any information that you're curious about? Maybe it's your compulsiveness that needs addressing? Without the phone, will you be compulsively fixated on something else? Maybe best that everything in moderation?

mm1970

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2019, 01:38:49 PM »
..Feel the need to compulsively look up any information that I am curious about. ..

why do you have the need to compulsively look up any information that you're curious about? Maybe it's your compulsiveness that needs addressing? Without the phone, will you be compulsively fixated on something else? Maybe best that everything in moderation?
I was going to suggest this also.  I've sort of forced myself to take long breaks from things like Instagram, facebook, etc.  I intentionally go places without my phone - so what if I can't take a picture?  I'm at the beach with my kids.  I slowly got over the idea that people need to hear from me immediately (text, messenger).

fat-johnny

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2019, 01:56:12 PM »
Not the most mustachian solution perhaps...but my Apple watch has counter intuitively helped me a lot. I do like to know when people text and call me in a timely way, so I used to keep my phone close to me all the time. However, now that I have the watch, I can set my phone on one side of the room & leave it there. I get the alerts for the important communication, but don't need to pick it up or have it near me to do so, so when I do use it's more deliberate. Some of the Fitbits also have this functionality, but I like being to send quick replies from the watch personally. The older models have really come down in price lately as well--probably not much more expensive than buying a "dumb" phone.

I don't know you at all, and I am not attacking you personally, but I find almost the exact opposite with two of my friends that have had smart watches the longest, and tout their usefulness the loudest.

We could be driving in the car, or at a nice dinner, or out at a bar, and you can see it on their face when the watch buzzes….and they immediately put wrist to face to see what the alert is all about.  I have commented to them that they are turning into Pavlov’s dogs.  The wrist buzzes, and they start salivating and must immediately put wrist to face.  Mid conversation, mid moment…..mid whatever.   The watch controls them.

I thought about getting a smart watch, but after interacting with these two, I had to question myself:  What is so damn important that you need your wrist to buzz and alert you?  In my lifestyle and in my line of work…..nothing really.  So no smartwatch for me.

mm1970

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2019, 02:22:38 PM »
Not the most mustachian solution perhaps...but my Apple watch has counter intuitively helped me a lot. I do like to know when people text and call me in a timely way, so I used to keep my phone close to me all the time. However, now that I have the watch, I can set my phone on one side of the room & leave it there. I get the alerts for the important communication, but don't need to pick it up or have it near me to do so, so when I do use it's more deliberate. Some of the Fitbits also have this functionality, but I like being to send quick replies from the watch personally. The older models have really come down in price lately as well--probably not much more expensive than buying a "dumb" phone.

I don't know you at all, and I am not attacking you personally, but I find almost the exact opposite with two of my friends that have had smart watches the longest, and tout their usefulness the loudest.

We could be driving in the car, or at a nice dinner, or out at a bar, and you can see it on their face when the watch buzzes….and they immediately put wrist to face to see what the alert is all about.  I have commented to them that they are turning into Pavlov’s dogs.  The wrist buzzes, and they start salivating and must immediately put wrist to face.  Mid conversation, mid moment…..mid whatever.   The watch controls them.

I thought about getting a smart watch, but after interacting with these two, I had to question myself:  What is so damn important that you need your wrist to buzz and alert you?  In my lifestyle and in my line of work…..nothing really.  So no smartwatch for me.
I accidentally got a smart watch.  I got a new Garmin running watch when my big beast died.  All of a sudden it starts buzzing at me!!  I slowly turned off push notifications...then just went all in to none at all.  (My family would do this group messenger thing.  I have 8 siblings.  One of my nieces doesn't work and 3 of my siblings are retired and their texts can go on and on and on while I'm at work.)

I now keep it on snooze 100% of the time.

katscratch

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2019, 07:17:56 PM »
I feel so grateful that I have a group of compadres who use a lot of tech for their day jobs so are really great at near zero tech when we hang out. We get into debates that rage for 30 minutes about some random fact that could be solved instantly via Google. We discuss music and lyrics and argue about the meaning. We say things like Oh My Word I Can't Wait To Look This Up Later I Can't Believe I Don't Remember That Movie Line.

This group of folks using their brain holes instead of their phones? My 47 year old boyfriend, our mutual friends, and all of our teen-young adult kids. It's awesome not having screens dictate our time.

And it's easier than you'd think to break the habit if you are surrounded by people (like your kids it sounds like) that would help remind you. If you make it a game with them, to call you out on checking your phone, it'll work even faster. Yes, you'll totally have a weird disoriented feeling you're forgetting something, and yes, you'll totally feel your phone vibrating in your pocket when it's not even in the room, but those things will fade as you recalibrate.

I do use my phone, a lot, especially for transit times and reading kindle or kobo books on the train and my lunch break. I prefer texting over phone calls. But I've broken the phone as a habit and it's been really nice.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 07:20:00 PM by katscratch »

mlipps

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2019, 03:23:19 PM »
Not the most mustachian solution perhaps...but my Apple watch has counter intuitively helped me a lot. I do like to know when people text and call me in a timely way, so I used to keep my phone close to me all the time. However, now that I have the watch, I can set my phone on one side of the room & leave it there. I get the alerts for the important communication, but don't need to pick it up or have it near me to do so, so when I do use it's more deliberate. Some of the Fitbits also have this functionality, but I like being to send quick replies from the watch personally. The older models have really come down in price lately as well--probably not much more expensive than buying a "dumb" phone.

I don't know you at all, and I am not attacking you personally, but I find almost the exact opposite with two of my friends that have had smart watches the longest, and tout their usefulness the loudest.

We could be driving in the car, or at a nice dinner, or out at a bar, and you can see it on their face when the watch buzzes….and they immediately put wrist to face to see what the alert is all about.  I have commented to them that they are turning into Pavlov’s dogs.  The wrist buzzes, and they start salivating and must immediately put wrist to face.  Mid conversation, mid moment…..mid whatever.   The watch controls them.

I thought about getting a smart watch, but after interacting with these two, I had to question myself:  What is so damn important that you need your wrist to buzz and alert you?  In my lifestyle and in my line of work…..nothing really.  So no smartwatch for me.
I accidentally got a smart watch.  I got a new Garmin running watch when my big beast died.  All of a sudden it starts buzzing at me!!  I slowly turned off push notifications...then just went all in to none at all.  (My family would do this group messenger thing.  I have 8 siblings.  One of my nieces doesn't work and 3 of my siblings are retired and their texts can go on and on and on while I'm at work.)

I now keep it on snooze 100% of the time.

I guess it depends on how quickly you typically check your texts & respond to them. It's my main form of communication with my friends and I do tend to read & reply promptly. By having my watch, I don't have to pick up my phone to see if I have new texts, which keeps me from mindlessly opening other apps. If you're more disciplined about only glancing at it every so often anyway, might not be as useful to you.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2019, 06:50:16 PM »
I actually tried this.  I got an old brick phone that could do email, texts, and phone calls.  I used it for about 2 weeks, which was instructive, but ultimately I went back to my smart phone.

First, there was the issue of phone numbers, which wouldn't be a problem if you were willing to switch your service all the way over.  But my new Ting phone number got an insane number of spam calls, which was more irritating than push messages ever were on my smart phone.

Second, the interface was crazy clunky.  It was from the pre-touch screen era with a flip out keyboard, and navigating to email or texts took several clicks and menus and whatever, and I was constantly annoyed at how long it would take to respond to a single text.

Third, I realized the world is really really set up for smart phone use, especially living in the city.  I went to urgent care and there was a long wait because I was the only one who hadn't pre-checked in on my phone via an app.  I was able to use the bus tracker through text, but it came through formatted in such a way that I had to scroll like crazy to see the actual times.  Finally, I realized I've become very dependent on our grocery shopping and meal planning app, and I missed having that a lot.

All these are very minor inconveniences, but in the end I decided that I would keep my smart phone and just use badassity/self control more.  My phone goes on Do Not Disturb as soon as I get home and sits charging on the counter.  That way it doesn't interfere with family time but calls and texts from my favorites (my mom, my spouse) come through.  My other major smartphone-related weakness was Uber, and that one was solved by just not ordering Ubers.  I think it's tempting to try and solve our weaknesses through technology, but for me, "proving" I had more self-control than I gave myself credit for has actually been nice.

acepedro45

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2019, 02:21:23 PM »
Easy fix: try shutting off the color to your smartphone's display. I've been experimenting with this as an alternative approach.

The theory is that color triggers your brain's "This is Important" circuitry. You may find yourself much less tempted to bury yourself pointlessly in your phone. I've been pleasantly surprised after reading this Life Hacker article:

https://lifehacker.com/make-your-smartphone-less-distracting-by-switching-your-1789747192

There are easy directions for any phone out there. If I ever "need" the color back on, it's only a few submenus away, but I can generally count on my laziness.


ETA: Also, with my no-color strategy I really dig that new Apple commercial where the people dressed in bright colors run around to a catchy beat. I can sing that earworm about the running from the humdrum AND get a helpful reminder to keep my color switched off at the same time.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 02:24:53 PM by acepedro45 »

Fuzz

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2019, 07:00:02 PM »
Same problem here. I noticed that I wasn't engaging with my kiddo like I wanted to.

I believe that AT&T has a number sync, where you can have your number ring multiple devices. (You could also get a google voice number and have it ring multiple devices--this is cheaper, but I experienced latency with google voice).

So anyway, my plan is to get a dumb flip phone for $50 and add it to my AT&T prepaid account for $10/month. Then I will use the flip phone most of the time.

use2betrix

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2019, 07:56:46 AM »
Not the most mustachian solution perhaps...but my Apple watch has counter intuitively helped me a lot. I do like to know when people text and call me in a timely way, so I used to keep my phone close to me all the time. However, now that I have the watch, I can set my phone on one side of the room & leave it there. I get the alerts for the important communication, but don't need to pick it up or have it near me to do so, so when I do use it's more deliberate. Some of the Fitbits also have this functionality, but I like being to send quick replies from the watch personally. The older models have really come down in price lately as well--probably not much more expensive than buying a "dumb" phone.

I don't know you at all, and I am not attacking you personally, but I find almost the exact opposite with two of my friends that have had smart watches the longest, and tout their usefulness the loudest.

We could be driving in the car, or at a nice dinner, or out at a bar, and you can see it on their face when the watch buzzes….and they immediately put wrist to face to see what the alert is all about.  I have commented to them that they are turning into Pavlov’s dogs.  The wrist buzzes, and they start salivating and must immediately put wrist to face.  Mid conversation, mid moment…..mid whatever.   The watch controls them.

I thought about getting a smart watch, but after interacting with these two, I had to question myself:  What is so damn important that you need your wrist to buzz and alert you?  In my lifestyle and in my line of work…..nothing really.  So no smartwatch for me.

I have found with my Apple Watch I do leave my phone more and look at it less. Aside from calls and texts, I receive no other notifications on my watch, and don’t text many people aside from my wife. I don’t use it to surf the net or aimlessly scroll social media, so it has its perks there as well. “Technically” since my watch has data, I could leave my phone at home entirely and still use my watch for phone, texting, music, audiobooks, etc.

Shwaa

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2019, 08:01:17 PM »
Easy fix: try shutting off the color to your smartphone's display. I've been experimenting with this as an alternative approach.

The theory is that color triggers your brain's "This is Important" circuitry. You may find yourself much less tempted to bury yourself pointlessly in your phone. I've been pleasantly surprised after reading this Life Hacker article:

https://lifehacker.com/make-your-smartphone-less-distracting-by-switching-your-1789747192

There are easy directions for any phone out there. If I ever "need" the color back on, it's only a few submenus away, but I can generally count on my laziness.


ETA: Also, with my no-color strategy I really dig that new Apple commercial where the people dressed in bright colors run around to a catchy beat. I can sing that earworm about the running from the humdrum AND get a helpful reminder to keep my color switched off at the same time.

This is genius. I didn't realize you could do this.  I just did this on my iPhone and it looks like shit now, which is exactly the point I take it.  I can already feel myself wanting to spend less time on it.  Let's see how this goes.  Thanks!

Tass

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2019, 08:04:38 PM »
I wish there was a way to turn off the color except for when a photo is fullscreen. I still want to see pics of my family members.

Personally I haven't noticed much difference with the grey screen but that doesn't mean there isn't an unconscious one.

acepedro45

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2019, 11:57:36 AM »
Quote
I wish there was a way to turn off the color except for when a photo is fullscreen. I still want to see pics of my family members.

Interesting, I recently wanted to show off some phone photos and found myself wandering through the settings labyrinth, trying to get the color turned back on.

There is a way to enable the home button "triple click" on Apple devices as an accessibility shortcut. Just now, I set mine up to toggle color on and off. If I end up backsliding into more phone use now that it's easy to enable color, I'll probably disable the shortcut and make myself go through the menus.

https://www.imore.com/how-use-and-customize-accessibility-shortcut-iphone-and-ipad

I bet there are similar shortcuts available for Android users.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2019, 12:25:06 AM »
Someone should write a simple app for switching between grey and colour.

Tass

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2019, 11:17:46 AM »
I bet there are similar shortcuts available for Android users.

Someone should write a simple app for switching between grey and colour.

To my knowledge, because the android greyscale requires developer permissions, it isn't possible to write an app to manage it that doesn't require a rooted phone. And I have an android. So, greyscale photos for me.

GuitarStv

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2019, 11:36:09 AM »
I don't even need a smart phone to ignore my kid.  I ignore him while reading, playing the guitar, and talking with other adults.  There's a certain level of ignoring that I think is healthy for kids to get used to.

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Re: Give up your smart phone for your kids?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2019, 04:13:49 PM »
I don't even need a smart phone to ignore my kid.  I ignore him while reading, playing the guitar, and talking with other adults.  There's a certain level of ignoring that I think is healthy for kids to get used to.

Hahah. I feel the same.

Also, OP, another potential solution that's worked well for me... Practice mindfulness through mindfulness meditations. And maybe read a book or in-depth article on how to break habits.

What you are doing is exactly part of the habit loop and you can change that without getting a phone from 1999 (Morpheus?!).

The meditation part will just help you become hyper aware of when you want to check your phone. Then looking into the habit-part is really just realizing how to replace that habit with something else. I believe your cue is probably boredom or curiosity it seems. But I'd bet for most of us it's boredom or a need to see if we have a notification. Once you realize this is happening you can be more mindful and change your habits.

Sounds like you're on the right track already.