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An Electronic Challenge Can you go phone free for our day of thanks?

I was thinking that maybe this Thanksgiving we could all give up our smartphones for a day.  You can only answer your phone if the caller is a late dinner guest or one who needs directions. Or if there’s an emergency. Better yet, tell people to use your home phone if you still have one.

Can you go without your smartphone for the day? Just this one day? It’s going to be hard.

Smartphone dependence is so universal. No matter what country I have been in, everyone is fixated on their phones — on trains, subways, buses, in cabs, on bus stops, in stores, walking on the street or just standing or sitting and waiting. Our smartphones have replaced everything. Most of our kids will never know our struggles or joys with the gadgets that have been made obsolete. No one needs to read a map to get to Grandma’s house. You no longer need that GPS device that you were gifted so many years ago.

You don’t need a camera — it’s on your phone. One less thing to crowd your purse or to forget when running out the door. No need to have film on hand or to grab a disposable camera.

Forget about records, record players, CD players, radios and stereos. Your smartphone plays it.

No one rings the bell anymore. They just text that they are outside and to ask you to please open the door.

I don’t even use a cookbook anymore. Aside from the very special ones my mother gave me, I got rid of them. I use my smartphone.

According to a recent T-Mobile survey, baby boomers are just as obsessed as millennials with their smartphones, burning on average two and a half hours, or 149 minutes a day, on the phone. Many use their phones to stay in touch with their grandchildren. I don’t have grandchildren. But my smartphone helps me stay in touch with my daughters, who live in other states.

On a day like Thanksgiving, we have even used them to look up topics being debated around the table.

Maybe we should have an old-fashioned holiday. No smartphones. Tell your family members ahead of time they are not allowed. Better yet, have one of the kids collect them at the door and put them in a bowl. Make sure they put theirs in, too.

Dig out your cookbooks, and while you’re at, it write down the recipes to share with family. Make a little book to give them to take home.

Find a radio for music. Or have those who play instruments make the music. Turn on a music channel on TV. If you have a record player, dust it off and use it.

Make a sign that says, “Please use the doorbell.”

Let’s give our necks a break from hanging low to read our smartphones and have conversations instead. Play board games and get to know one another again. Look one another in the eye.

Find your old camera or buy a disposable one. (They still exist, don’t they?)

I am amazed at how connected we are. How our lives are so contained in those mini computers.  I know it’s that way of life these days, but won’t it be good to not Tweet, use Instagram or Facebook for a day? Won’t it be good to disconnect from the news and chatter that invades our space every day, but that we still have to check?

On this one day, can’t we be thankful for all that enters our life and do it without our smartphones?

It’s going to be hard, but I am willing to try.










About Lisa Robinson

Lisa Robinson is the mother of two daughters raised in the Baltimore Area. One is still a teen, the other is out on her own, but Lisa knows she will never really retire from motherhood. Lisa is an award-winning journalist, news anchor and investigative reporter at WBAL-TV. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and an avid reader who likes to cook, write, entertain and get her exercise. On a sunny day you might just see her out and about for a run.

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