It seems that everywhere we go, people are on their phones–restaurants, waiting rooms, grocery stores, walking down the street. Smartphones are not bad. They connect us to friends and family. They bring a world of information to our fingertips. They help us in a lot of ways. But often, smartphones don’t allow us to be present in the moment. They distract us from the people, places, and things that are right in front of us. What message are we conveying to our kids when we’re on our phones so much?
Author Tracy Bryan stopped by today to tell us about her new book Put Away Your Phone! Tracy is passionate about teaching our kids that it’s okay to unplug. Through the voice of her star character, a little girl named Emma, Tracy imparts a very important message that we all need to hear.
Read on to learn more about the impact smartphone overuse has on our lives.
by Tracy Bryan
When was the last time you had a peek at your phone? Maybe it was to get your email messages, or check your Facebook notifications, or even just because you were bored? Chances are you will probably look at your smartphone at least once in the next hour.
A study recently released by Deloitte found that on average, people in the United States across all age groups check their phones 46 times per day.(1)
That’s a lot of peeking!
Currently, there are approximately 6 billion active cell phones in the world.(2) Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them.(3)
This makes sense, because as our world becomes increasingly more technological, so do its people. We have to rely on our electronic devices for communication, education, and many other essential everyday activities that help us in our everyday lives.
Most people use their smartphone in almost every aspect of their daily lives- work, leisure, and family time. In addition to checking their phones more frequently during the day, 93% of smartphone owners have looked at their phones within three hours of waking up. For 18-24 year olds, that number is 97%.(4)
These statistics are a little alarming. What are we teaching this next generation of techies?
Do we want to show our kids that it’s okay and quite normal to be fixated on a smartphone? If we continue to be distracted by our devices, will people and their families begin to connect with each other less and less? Maybe.
This rise in smartphone obsession is becoming a worldwide issue because people aren’t just overusing their phones, they are using them when they don’t really need to. The majority of smartphone owners use their devices while they are doing other activities at the same time.
@ 2016 David Barrow
In my new picture book, Put Away Your Phone! one little girl, Emma, notices this growing issue. She attempts to bring this to her parent’s attention in hopes that they will see how distracted they really are.
Emma represents anyone who has ever been frustrated with someone else who is distracted by their smartphone. She is determined to get the attention of the people around her, who are all so fixated on their smartphones, and she wants to help them notice this.
@ 2016 David Barrow
The good news is that like Emma, there are people in our world that want to “unplug” from their devices and become more present in their life.
Research from the Harris Poll shows that 45 percent of Americans do attempt to disconnect themselves from technology at least once a week or more. 16 percent attempt to distance themselves from their cell phone, email or television every day.
Harris also found that 6 out of 10 people wish their family members would unplug from technology more often.(5) These numbers need to continue to grow if we hope to connect with the people in our lives more.
Emma is a pretty clever little girl who may just have an important message for us all to hear. Join Emma and help her shout “Put Away Your Phone!”
@ 2016 David Barrow
Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental health, and mindfulness.
Visit & Connect with Tracy:
- (4) http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/us-tmt-global-mobile-executive-summary-2015.pdf