What is the first question most likely asked when travelers arrive at their destination? The answer is “What’s the WIFI code?” No matter where Americans are vacationing whether staying with friends, family, at a hotel, or a vacation rental such as Airbnb, many cell phone users want to know as soon as possible how to access the internet.
There are some travelers who refuse to stay at some locations where we have no internet access. In fact vacationers will often spend an hour of their vacation searching for a WIFI hot spot if they do not have internet access. Most recently during the 4th of July holiday week, hubby and I had opportunity to take our annual nature trip. What’s a nature trip like for the Loves? We do our best to unplug which means we take our phones along with us for emergency but we do our best not to spend time looking at emails, social media and the like. In fact we try to spend most of our time outdoors enjoying God’s beautiful creation.
Yes, the diva and the pastor took off our church clothes, packed nothing but shorts, t-shirts and swim suits and off we went to the lake for the week. We deliberately selected a place in the wilderness with no WIFI access. We enjoyed most of our meals on the patio and I got a chance to break in the pretty pink fishing pole my husband bought me. (Yes it’s pink).
It was nice to put our phones down on the table and only glance at them a few times a day. This time around we only left them on because our son was getting ready to be deployed and we didn’t want to miss his call. I think I touched my phone a total of 5 times a day and didn’t have to charge it for a couple of days. All the touching, clicking, tapping and swipe came to a complete halt.
Have you ever heard of nomophobia? It's the fear of being without your phone. Believe it or not it is real and there is a rehab center in California that offers treatment for this condition. I read an article by Christie Duffie that indicates 12% of people actually use their phone in the shower. The signs of nomophobia include: 1) Frequently checking your phone 2) Using it in inappropriate places 3) Having more than one phone 4) Carrying a charger and constantly checking your battery life.
Did you know that on any given day the average person with a cell phone touches it 2617 times? Have you been guilty of glancing at your phone every five minutes? Are you constantly watching your phone for the next text, email or instant message on Facebook or Twitter? Some people even take their phones to the bathroom because they are afraid of missing a call or a text. Does this describe you? Does it bother you to be away from your phone?
You may be saying to yourself, when I am on vacation I use my phone to capture memories. Are you capturing memories or finding the right photo opportunity to post a great Facebook or Instagram picture? Are you more concerned about sharing a photo of your activities than you are enjoying the activities you are participating in? I don’t want to take a picture of everything I do on vacation. How can I enjoy my vacation if I am trying to take a picture or video of everything?
Do you need a vacation break without your phone? There are now a few tour and vacation organizers that offer digital detox vacations where you are not allowed to use smart phones for social media use or camera use. Could you do it? Sounds like real fun to me.
Take a moment to think about your smart phone behavior. Can you go for five, ten, twenty, thirty minutes or an hour without checking your phone? Take an inventory of your day and see how much time you spend in touching, texting, clicking, tapping and swiping. You may be surprised at the answer.
Do you have symptoms of nomophobia? Have you and your phone become inseparable? 1 John 5:21 (NLT) says: "Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts." If so it's time to make some changes in our life. Be deliberate about putting your phone down or turning it off. See what you have been missing out on especially on vacation.
Well now that we are back to the real world I gotta go and charge up my phone.... See you in cyberspace!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach