Is Your Distraction Hurting Your Family?

I’m writing this from a place of sincere conviction and transparency today. I hope that the addiction to distraction is not something you struggle with. Unfortunately, my guess is that most of us deal with it to some degree- whether it’s through a cell phone, a laptop, a gaming system, or a television screen.

Is Your Distraction Hurting Your Family? Addiction to Distraction

My Story

I fell into the iPhone trap. It had become my everything. (I am working on it and I’ll share some tips too!) I check it first thing when I wake up. It’s the last thing I do before going to sleep. If I wonder what the temperature is like, I use an app instead of stepping outside. I manage my money, my schedule, my to-do list, even many of my friendships through my phone. No wonder it’s become a problem.

Paul has made comments several times about my phone use. I originally considered these snarky and unfounded. Until I realized they were true. I was ignoring him to check Facebook. I was responding to texts and emails while Noah wanted to play in the other room. I was doing good things– checking in on my budget, responding to a colleague’s email, encouraging a friend through text, creating a meal plan from Pinterest recipes- but to the detriment of my family who was right in front of me all along.

I was distracted. And it was hurting my family.

Is Distraction a Problem in Your Life?

Technology is awesome! It helps us to be more connected and can help us work smarter. I don’t think that dependency on technology is necessarily bad. I’m pretty dependent on my washer and dryer, and I don’t think that’s a problem! The problem is when your distraction is having a negative impact on your life or on the lives of those you love.

The problem is when your distraction is having a negative impact on your life or on the lives of those you love.

Social media is not a problem if it’s not keeping you from also connecting in real life.

Video games are not a problem if you’re still able to be productive and be engaged with your family.

TV is not a problem if you’re not using it to escape from your priorities.

Is distraction a problem in your life? From the post Addicted to Distraction at

A Common Problem

We don’t have to look for hard numbers to prove distraction is a problem.

  • We can look around a restaurant and notice people on their phones instead of talking to the real people in front of them at the table.
  • We hear from a colleague about how her son (or her husband) barely hears her because he’s constantly playing video games.
  • We can notice ourselves getting sucked into scrolling Facebook or Instagram instead of getting important things done.

But there are statistics to prove it too.

Why are we so Addicted to Distraction?

These are a few of the main reasons we’re so addicted to distraction:

couple texting addicted to distraction

1) Escape: “I have too much to do and I don’t even want to think about it! I’ll just play this game for a few minutes to relax.”

2) Fear of Missing Out: “But everyone’s on Instagram. I need to make an account, too, so I can see all of their pictures!”

3) Belonging: “My husband doesn’t really understand how I feel. But the people in this Facebook group do, so let me tell them what just happened!”

4) The Rush: “Yay! Someone liked my video.” or “It feels so good to finally beat this level I’ve been stuck on!”

We’re addicted because businesses profit from it, and we’ve allowed ourselves to fall victim to it.

What can we do to Escape?

1) Turn off notifications

This is the single most important thing I’ve done. We have been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs. We hear a “ding,” we check our phones. I only hear a sound now if someone is calling or I receive a text. That Facebook comment can wait.

How to Turn Off Notifications on iPhones and iPads

How to Turn Off Notifications on Androids

2) Get some space

Physically remove the item from within your reach. When Noah crawls into my lap to snuggle, I often throw my phone onto the other couch. Otherwise, I’m tempted to pick it up and scroll through other people’s lives…instead of being present in my own.

I’ve also recently started putting my phone in a closed compartment while I’m driving.  This gives me a few more seconds to stop myself when I’m tempted to check it.

3) Set boundaries

If Paul is in the room, I’m not on my phone. Well, that’s the goal anyway.

Other ideas:

  • Designate phone-free zones, such as the kitchen table.
  • Decide to be device-free for a few hours after dinner.
  • Commit to only checking social media once a day.
  • Check with your spouse and/or kids before taking the time to return a text.

4) Get rid of it

This is extreme and not necessary for everyone. But in some cases, the best course of action is just to get rid of the offending item. Throw the game away, cancel the cable channel, or delete the app from your phone (and don’t reinstall it!).

Battling distractions is a big issue for many of us. You’re not alone! We have to work hard to show the people we love that they matter more than any device. We can’t allow our precious minutes to be stolen by distraction. Decide to start fighting back today!

If this post helped you, please share it with a friend!

Do you struggle with distraction? Or are you one of the lucky ones? Share your struggles and tips in the comments.

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10 Comments on "Is Your Distraction Hurting Your Family?"

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It’s a good article, Beka. You’ve hit the nail on the head of a lot of things I can relate to, and I appreciate some suggestions for combating the issue. I think that being content, joyful, and present in your own life is so very hard for so many of us, and technology is just an easy escape. It’s also just an addiction, and a habit. Thank you!

Oh, Beka! My toes are hurting! That expression has always baffled me, but nonetheless, you are right. Michael has said several things over the past two weeks while we were on break from work. I use the phone to keep me busy during a lull in a TV show or a boring movie. Then, I feel jealous or get upset about someone’s Facebook post. I use Netflix to help me escape the reality of my life. I will delete apps, turn off notifications, and “be present”. Thank you for the gentle reminder that all I am doing is trying to… Read more »

Distraction is such an easy trap to fall into. I am always reminding myself to keep boundaries – I set “work” hours for being online for social media and that includes time on my phone… and I’m starting that with my kids too for when they can play their video games, or use screens… it’s a process. Sounds like you are doing a good job of finding a better balance


I like how you laid out when things aren’t a problem. So many people want to make things a problem for everyone, but it’s all about how you use things.

Kathleen Louise Burnett
Kathleen Louise Burnett

This is a “new problem” for this time, and the generations to come. Everyone will have to set boundaries for how much to use the distracting technologies. You have laid out some good guidelines for people to consider how they are using their phones or computers.