Tanya Goodin, founder of Time To Log Off, author of ‘OFF’ and ‘Stop Staring at Screens’, is passionate about helping us all start a tech detox. This Valentine’s Day, she says it’s time to face up to how much our phones could be impacting our love life.
What’s the very best thing you could do for your partner this Valentine’s Day? Cook them a nice meal? Write a cute card? Buy them a thoughtful present? How about…putting down your phone?
If your partner’s idea of a cosy night for two is scrolling through their Twitter feed next to you on the sofa, or cradling the glowing screen of their Kindle in bed, then you know how being ignored by them for their screen makes you feel. If you’re honest, do you think you might occasionally be guilty of the same behaviour?
“‘Phubbing’ or snubbing your partner for something fascinating on your phone, is on the rise”
Research has found that ‘phubbing’ or snubbing your partner for something fascinating on your phone (even if it’s just a particularly cute dog meme), is on the rise. In 2015 a study from Baylor University in Texas found 46% of people in romantic relationships feel they have been ‘phubbed’. And in 2014 a Pew survey found that 18% of US adults felt the Internet was responsible for weakening relationships. Our smartphones have certainly eroded the barriers between our home and work lives and not being able to unplug when we get home, with mounting levels of stress and burnout being reported in all work areas as a result, is definitely having an impact on our closest relationships.
One study has even found that 1 in 10 people admit to checking their phone during sex. Yes, that’s actually, ahem, during sex.
Every year the digital detox movement I founded, Time To Log Off, runs a campaign around Valentine’s Day to ‘log off for love’ and restore some of the one-to-one moments with our partners that we’re missing out on thanks to the 24:7 smartphone habit. If you want to give your partner a really memorable gift this year, how about the gift of your undivided attention?
- A Bedroom Ban. Put your phones firmly outside your bedroom door when you go to sleep. It will definitely improve the quality of your sleep and who knows, sexy times may increase when you’re forced to find something else to do instead of scrolling on Pinterest.
- Untether Together. Agree a central spot to keep both of your phones when you’re at home, such as a basket drawer or shelf, so you don’t have them permanently glued to your hand or in your back pocket.
- Phones Invisible when 1-2-1. Make a pact that whenever you are 1-2-1, whether that’s eating a meal or just chatting through your day, both your phones are out of sight. (One study found that people who chatted together with a smartphone present felt much less positive about the person they talked to afterwards than with no phone visible, food for thought).
Really, these tips shouldn’t just be for Valentine’s Day but for every day of the year. And if you don’t have a partner some of them are equally valid, and worth trying out, for gal pals and friends. Try them out and I promise you you’ll see relationships of every kind flourish.
Tanya’s brand-new Podcast, It’s Complicated: the podcast to help you untangle your relationship with your phone, is available now to download from the App store