Living life through the screen: taking it back

Getting out from behind the screen: Image Credit the Mummy and the MinxWhat was the first thing you did when your baby smiled, sat up by themselves, clapped or experienced another major milestone moment? Did you reach for your phone to try and capture this moment in time as effortlessly as you were overcome with the sheer joy of it? 

The last time you went to a gig or a festival, was there a sea of phone screens about half a foot above everyone’s heads. (Yes, I know very funny right? A festival?! Ha!) On Riverfire night, did you snap away trying to capture the perfect photo of the fireworks? Why are we driven to capture moments? And seriously, what are we doing with all of this stuff once we have it?

Here are our thoughts on a difficult subject …

Sarah’s take

Increasingly I hear people talk about how they need to put their phones down and just enjoy the moment and remember it for what it is. I personally find it very hard to find balance. With the husband working away and currently missing so much of our daughter’s development I am constantly trying to capture special moments of her during the day to send to him. I know that when he gets back to his room after 12 hours in hellish conditions, it is the absolute highlight of his day.

I’m a scientist by trade and am always interested in research when it is applicable to my everyday life in particular. So when I read earlier this year that the ‘snap culture’ we live in is potentially affecting our ability to remember the precious moments we are capturing, I found myself caught between a rock and hard place. I don’t want to forget. I want to hold onto every precious moment with all of my heart. But I also want to be able to capture and share it with my daughter’s father.

The solution? I’m still not sure. I’m still mastering being disciplined with my social media use. I have decided on the following though:

  • Rather than snap and iMessage photos as they happen, each afternoon I will sit down and write a brief email to give the photos some context and a story for hubby.
  • I am committing to doing a family album every six months. Like a real album. I am hoping this might help moderate my photo taking over time and teach me what is the important moments.
  • I will continue to work on my social media issues. (I just get so fricking excited when you guys like one of my photos!)
  • I will treat my phone like a phone as much as possible. Not like a second computer or camera.

So now I’ve put this out there I guess I’ll have to be accountable and let you know how it all goes.

 Robyna’s Take

I have three constant companions in my life.  My two living boys. And my phone. I know that I need to cut back on how much I used it, but the useful, good stuff is so tied up in the useless, time-wasting stuff that I can never quite figure out the balance. I think “I will just leave the phone at home” and then I miss three important calls. I use it to check the time and that inevitably leads to me checking all my social media channels.  Even when I am doing stuff with the kids, the phone creeps in. I craft with them, but with the help of the iPhone browsing Pinterest.  I cook with them, but inevitably the recipe has been found on Taste and I am again following my phone. I take photographs on the phone of what we are doing. Not just to preserve the memories for them but to share what we are doing in the now. Will every one  of my boys memories of me have a phone in its recollection? The thought saddens me beyond what I can bear.

I am asking myself some questions: Why do I take photographs?  What’s my real reason? Am I living IN the moment or FOR the moment (and waiting for the next moment and the next)? What am I teaching my kids? What can we do I to improve things?

I often take photographs in order to share on social media – I probably take photographs more often for this purpose than any other. It shouldn’t ALWAYS be the primary reason and I want to change that. I do not need to take photographs of every single thing, and my friends probably don’t need to see every thing Master I or I create. Nor do I need to be modelling constant screen time to my five year old who would live on a steady diet of TNMT youtube videos if he could.

Do you really need to share me?So, this is what I am going to do to improve things:

  • Check my social media channels twice a day and leave it at that.
  • Wear a watch.
  • Take my camera with me and use it rather than the phone, with a focus on creating memories, rather than sharing immediate moments.
  •  When I want to share a photo, I am going to think about why and who I want to share it with.  Maybe I should send a MMS or an email or (gasp) print out some photos and give them to my mum.


Small things. They aren’t going to change the world, but they might make life a bit better for my boys and I. Will let you know how I go.


We would love to know if you struggle with this as well and why? Have you got some ideas? Are you committed to living in the present more?

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