Tune Off- Tune In – Unplug

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If you decided to run a Marathon you wouldn’t just put on your trainers & run 26 miles would you?

You’d train. You’d plan. You’d build up slowly.

The same applies to incrementally turning off your mobile phone.

If we stop to think about what we look at most during the day, the answer would probably not be our family or friends, television or books.

It’s our phone.

The use of mobile phones has been growing exponentially in recent years, especially after the emergence of smart devices.

Smartphones are now our constant companions for work, social, leisure and even family life.

But excessive use can lead to problems of dependence, addiction and fear.

Have you ever lost your phone or couldn’t find it for 5 minutes & felt panicky? I know I have.

That small device forms a large part of our lives with work emails, instant messages, social networks or videos on demand.

In extreme cases, it can lead to what is known as “nomophobia”, a disorder that experts have described as the disease of the 21st century.


Nomophobia represents the irrational fear of being without a mobile phone.

The term was coined in 2009 in the UK and comes from the anglicism “nomophobia” (“no-mobile-phone-phobia”).

The dependence on the electronic device causes an unfounded sense of panic in the user who doesn’t have the device, either because they have left it at home, the battery has run out or they are out of range.

A YouGov Real Time study in 2019 found that 44% of Britons surveyed were anxious if they couldn’t use their mobile phone to “keep in touch” with their circle.

Anyone can suffer from nomophobia. However, this disorder tends to affect adolescents the most, with the 14-16 age group being the most prevalent.

Younger generations are more at risk of becoming nomophobic for two reasons: they feel a strong need to be accepted by others and they are more familiar with new technologies than older people.

Adam Alter, a psychologist at New York University, has extensively researched the impact of nomophobia on teenagers. The author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked conducted a study in 2017 in which he asked a sample of these young people whether they would rather see their mobile phone fall and break into a million pieces or break a bone in their hand. Adam Alter found that older participants prioritised their health over replaceable comfort‼️

In contrast, around 40 to 50 per cent of the teenagers preferred breaking their bones to having their mobile phone broken. In addition, Alter observed that these young people asked questions such as which hand would be affected by the injury or whether they could continue to use the phone and scroll with the broken bone‼️

So, armed with another new word I started pondering how about turning off and tuning in to real life but doing it incrementally?

How about switching off your phone on a Sunday for an hour or two as it’s not a working day?

How would that feel?

Or how about leaving your phone behind when you go to the park with your kids, pop into the supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread or take the dog out for a walk?

Short bursts of being disconnected.

Cold turkey in bite sized intermittent moments.

If we feel like this – how do our kids feel brought up on a diet of constant connection?

To help them how about making a ‘I’m Bored Jar’ or a ‘Turn Off – Tune In’ Jar or a ‘Switch Off Sunday’ Jar or a whatever you’d like to call it in your house Jar?

Find a lovely jam jar and decorate it with glitter and other crafty things and then get your kids to write on some slips of paper lots of fun, simple, inexpensive ideas for things to do to pop into the jar.

So when they moan. ‘I’m bored’ they can pick out something from their jar and voila – they have something to do, make or play – that’s a pleasant alternative to using their phone. 📱

You can include – building a den, going to the library, playing badminton in the garden, go mini beast hunting, painting a rainbow, planting potatoes in the garden, jumping on the trampoline, going for a bike ride, having a picnic in the park, baking biscuits, playing with Lego, reading a book, climbing a tree, making up a puppet play, making an obstacle course, feeding the ducks, to walking the dog.

You get the idea!

So it makes coming off devices fun not a punishment ‼️

As with all addictions, prevention is the key.

There are some simple actions to prevent excessive use of mobile phones from leading to extreme dependence them.

Among the most effective are:

🕹️Uninstall some applications that you consider to be time-wasters such as games.

🍴Don’t use phones at mealtimes.

📵Mute notifications.
⏳Set specific times to check your phone and increase the time gaps
💬Never look at it if we you are chatting, eating, sharing leisure time with other people ( remember phubbing?)
⏰ Don’t use it as an alarm clock, as it can interfere with your sleep cycle.
🛌 Keep it out of the bedroom.

🛒 Go out without a mobile for short periods


It is essential that we accept that we shouldn’t have our mobile phones at our disposal at all times and that we create our own commitment to the healthy use of technology

Smartphone tips and scripts for parents


Check out World Digital Detox Day

And explore Muddy Kidz

Like me to do a Power Hour Talk for your organisation? Get in touch 📧


My thanks to Iberdrola for information about Nomophobia and their powerful image

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