Put Down Your F*cking Phone

“Put down your fucking phone! “ -Mrs. Ramp to Mr. Ramp pretty much every night

This is a real issue for nearly all of us. You’re standing in line at Chipotle. You’re waiting at a stoplight. You’re walking down the street. You’re playing with your kids. You’re always looking at your phone.

Approximately 75% of you are currently reading this on your phone. I know this because my site analytic data tells me so. Thanks for playing.

After you finish reading this post, I want you to take out your iPhone (Android users stop reading and go get an iPhone) and go to the following address:


Settings > Screen Time > iPhone > Last 7 Days

Now read the displayed number out loud.

7h 6m per day. Weekly Total 49h 47m. Two days of the week I’m on my phone. WTF!

How does this happen? I’ll tell you exactly how in my case: I’m addicted to Twitter. There are worse addictions to have though. On average, about 50% of my screen time is directed towards Twitter. My current excuse for being on my phone and Twitter so much is because Ramp Capital LLC has turned into a small business for me. Full disclosure to investors: My earnings reports are non-GAAP.

The past five years have been an adventure building “the brand”. It’s fun interacting with all of you on a daily basis even though I haven’t met 99.997% of you in real life.

You know what else is fun besides being on your phone all the time?

Reading books. Walking the dog. Exercising. Doing puzzles. Woodworking. Gardening. Painting. Playing with the kids. Talking to your significant other face to face over a beautifully prepared meal. Human interaction.

There are countless articles and studies regarding chronic phone use. I’ve also seen some apps that try to help us to unplug. I’m not going to rehash some of their ideas in this post, but just be cognizant of them.

We are trying a new routine at our house from now on. We are putting the phones in a kitchen drawer from the time we both get home from work until the baby goes down for bed. Once the baby is secured, the phones can come back out. No one is going to be upset if I don’t respond to a text or a tweet within that short two hour period. But my baby will be upset.

Having your baby witness you on a phone is pretty damaging. A recent WSJ article titled The Secret Power of the Children’s Picture Book had some frank words regarding phone and tablet use around children.

Babies look at adults to see where we’re looking, so if we’re glued to our electronic devices, that’s what will draw their gaze too. What they see may not be what we want them to see. As the psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair has written: “Babies are often distressed when they look to their parent for a reassuring connection and discover the parent is distracted or uninterested. Studies show that they are especially perturbed by a mother’s ‘flat’ or emotionless expression, something we might once have associated with a depressive caregiver but which now is eerily similar to the expressionless face we adopt when we stare down to text, stare away as we talk on our phones or stare into a screen as we go online.

We are also going to try and reduce phone usage near bed time because the blue light from your phone suppresses melatonin which affects your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. The National Sleep Foundation stated 71 percent of people sleep either holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand.

I enjoyed Josh Brown’s recent post about going to the Patrice O’Neal benefit show and how the performers forced everyone at the event to put their phone in a Yondr case before entering the event. These cases are so simple, but so effective at forcing people to have human interactions and real experiences.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve went to a concert and as soon as the band starts playing everyone whips their phone out to take a video and post it to social media. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

Sometimes we forget to live in the moment. Right now we are just a bunch of zombies stumbling into each other.

Put down your phone for a while. Strike up a conversation with a stranger next time you are waiting in line. Enjoy life.

Sent from my iPhone