Pope Francis wants you to put your phone away

Pope Francis wants you to put your phone away

If you haven’t already made a new years’ resolution, then perhaps the recent encouragement from Pope Francis to use smartphones less, might be a good place to start.

On December 30 2019, Pope Francis had an interesting message for worshippers at St. Peter’s Square: He wants them to put their phones away—especially at mealtimes.

Pointing to the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pope Francis emphasized how important it is for families to communicate with each other. He explained that the Holy Family “prayed, worked and communicated with each other” and encouraged modern families to do the same.

“I ask myself if you, in your family, know how to communicate or are you like those kids at mealtables where everyone is chatting on their mobile phone … where there is silence like at a Mass but they don’t communicate,” he said. “We have to get back to communicating in our families. Fathers, parents, children, grandparents, brothers and sisters, this is a task to undertake today, on the day of the Holy Family.”

According to research, the pope has a point. A study about Australians and smartphone usage has found that on average that we can check our phones up to 130 times a day.

Alright, you heard the man. If you are reading this on your phone and you are at the table with your friends or family, maybe you should wait until later.

Here’s some quick tips to break up with your phone and have better relationships with those around you in 2020:

  1. Track Your Usage – Ironically, you can try to stave off addicting smartphone apps with another app. While not ideal, there are apps like SPACE and Moment helps you find your personal phone-life balance by monitoring your smartphone use and setting limits.
  2. Stop Scrolling – Many of the most popular mobile apps (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more) are designed with infinite scrolling functions, where you can consume an endless feed of information. Although social media apps can be difficult to live without, try deleting the apps that have infinite scroll and see how much time you can earn back.
  3. Calm Your Mind – Meditation, yoga, exercise, and other mindfulness activities have been proven to create a natural release of dopamine, reducing the craving from the dopamine rushes your phone provides.
  4. Turn Off All Notifications Unrelated to Communication from Real People – Our devices were meant to increase our connectivity to other people; so keep it that way. Turn off any notifications from apps unless they’re alerting you that a coworker, friend or family might need your attention in real-time. You might even consider deleting social media apps from your phone altogether and only accessing them via a computer.
  5. Take a tech break – Tech “sabbaticals” are an excellent way to detox from your device and take back the time spent scrolling through social media. Start slow and build up to whole weekends where you can literally switch off from your device.

So if you need a new years resolution, take some advice from Pope Francis and spend more time with your family and less time with your mobile phone in 2020.

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