The next time you’re standing on the street corner, commuting on the subway or sitting in a restaurant with friends, take a minute to observe how many people aren't on their smartphones. Chances are you won't find many. And chances are you’ll have to look up from your own phone to do so.
Cat Greenleaf, the host of NBC’s “Talk Stoop,” was also guilty of being constantly tethered to her phone -- until about four years ago when, during a commute home, she had a revelation about her technology use. Greenleaf joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to explain what happened:
“I got out at the Bergen [subway] stop and I looked up and said, ‘That’s a gorgeous building, I wonder when they put that up,’” said Greenleaf. “I did a little research -- they put the building up in 1890, so it had always been there and I had just never noticed because I realized I was always looking down trying to get my messages and see who needs me right this second. So I thought, ‘God, what else am I missing out on?’”
Looking around, Greenleaf noticed how she wasn’t the only one guilty of being constantly distracted by technology.
“I realized I wasn’t doing well, then I realized other people weren’t doing well, then I realized that etiquette had totally gone down the tubes," she said. "We all do it. We should love our smartphones, they let us do so much, but then we should love them and let them go.”
Letting go of the addiction wasn’t easy, but both she and her family are better off for it.
“I first had to learn what to do with my hands, and that’s been very challenging,” she said. “Then my husband and I made a pact to check our phones at the door when we come home so that we can really interact with our sons. They’re 2 ½ and 5 ½ and they know when we're not paying attention to them. ... And then on the weekends, I don’t look at my phone at all and my life is so much richer because of it because I’m with my little boys and I’m with my dogs or wherever.”
To hear more about Greenleaf's unplugging experience, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above. And be sure to check out Greenleaf's blog post on her love-hate relationship with her smartphone.