It’s late. It’s dark. The kids are finally asleep. A vibrating sound emanates from the master bedroom followed by oohs and aahs. Yes, it’s a battery-operated toy, but it’s not what you think. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about my Blackberry.

That piercing oooooh is my excitement when sends an email announcing 20%off. The aaaah–more of a sigh, really–is a rejection email from a literary journal. Just what I need at the end of the night.

My friends, this is a problem. An epidemic. Too many of us are attached to our smartphones.

We’re so addicted we put them on the table when we eat with friends and loved ones. Even worse, we pick them up during the meal. Hold on, we say. Just need to answer this. How did we get so utterly obnoxious?

We forget to make eye contact with our children. We glance at those phones–for shame–when we drive. We take them to bed. To bed, people! To bed!

We need to do something drastic. At least I know I do. I worry about permanently slipping into a virtual world. And considering I just started this blog last week, there’s no question I need some boundaries to protect my children, my friendships, and especially my marriage.
My husband HATES my phone, loathes it, abhors it—no word is strong enough. And he has good reason. I carry that thing around like an extra limb. He knows the moment my phone’s message alert starts blinking that I’m only half-listening to him. Because, my goodness, that red light. That delightful, intoxicating little light.

So yes, I have a problem.

I know countless men out there are out of control when it comes to their phones, checking sports scores in the rare minutes not already usurped by answering emails. I’m lucky that my husband has a good attitude about his Blackberry. And in honor of our upcoming tenth anniversary, I’m giving him a gift. It’s a pledge.

Yes, I know I’m cheap.

I, Nina Badzin, promise to turn off my cell phone at 9:30 PM every night. *Heart beating wildly. Might hyperventilate.* Let’s make it 10:30 and for Hanukkah I’ll stop bringing my laptop to bed, too.

Wish me luck! I’ll report back on my progress.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how other people deal with detaching from their phones. Do you ever feel your virtual life is trumping your real life? Can you still separate the two? Feel free to chime in.

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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, a lead writing instructor at ModernWell in Minneapolis as well as ModernWell's book club director. She reviews 50 books a year on her blog, writes reviews for other sites, and has a friendship advice column at The HerStories Project. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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