Mandie Spooner says her phone addiction was so extreme she hired a tutor to help her son with homework because she was distracted by Facebook.

Mandie has now self-imposed a ban on looking at her phone every afternoon and enjoys time with her children, she wants to help other parents break the habit.

She has set up a non-judgemental Facebook support group for mums and dads who also want to go on a digital detox, she has 90 members already.

“I was always the first to ‘like’ other people’s posts,” Mrs Spooner tells The Daily Telegraph, who runs three social media accounts for work. “My addiction was extreme, but I think a lot of people can relate to my experience.”

Mrs Spooner said she no longer needed a tutor to sit with her son Cameron, 7. She said homework time had originally become a “battlefield” because she was distracted by her phone.

“I would be on my phone telling him off for not concentrating,” she said.

“His behaviour was horrifying. I now realise he just wasn’t getting the attention he needed from me. It was all my own doing.”

Mrs Spooner said her screen habit began when she had her first son Murray, now 8.

“I’d look at Facebook while breastfeeding,” said Mrs Spooner, who regrets missing “many moments” of her children’s lives because she was staring at a screen, rather than being present.

“I cringe thinking back because there were too many of those moments,” she said. “I was always looking at Facebook or sending an email. I’d get irritated if they wanted something from me.”

“I remember Murray saying, ‘Mum, can you get off your phone please?’.”

In April, she told her boys and husband Ellis she was going on a self-imposed digital detox, and would not look at any screens between 4pm and 7.30pm.

“They know I’ve decided to do this because I want to be present when they are around,” she said. “It makes them feel really special.

“I know I was a bad mother, but I feel I am a better one now. I feel a bit of sadness when I see other mums do what I used to do. I see my old self and think of all those missed moments.”

You can join Digital Detox Challenge (Be a Present Parent) Facebook page support group here.

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  • A Facebook page to address this problem seems a tad ironic.


  • I’m glad she finally realised her problem.


  • Good on her for making a change. Screen time is a slippery slope for many people, and I for one know it’s very easy to lose track of time with doing things online. I love the idea of screen free time when the kids are around. I think it not only makes a parent present, but it also provides a good role model for the kids.


  • Yes, I found also ironic that the support group is in Facebook! :D
    This woman was surely having a terrible addiction. Good that she realized it and worked to improve her situation. I’m sure she and her family will feel a lot better from now on!


  • I don’t have a mobile phone. If I did, I’d probably be like everyone else staring at their screen all the time.


  • I don’t think I’m this bad. But it’s a good idea regardless to have electronics free time for the family


  • It’s ironic that the support group is in Facebook.. To get support for a digital addiction, you need to access the very technology that is the source of your problem. Very telling how much social media has permeated our lives.


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