Halle Berry wants her fans to “rē•spin” how they read. The Oscar-winning actress, 54, took to her IG TV on August 20 to promote a 2018 book that has aided her in transitioning to a healthier relationship with personal technology — specifically her phone. During the introduction to her video, Halle expressed how she wanted to use this time to “find some meaningful things to do, or some meaningful things to discover.” As such, it led her to her latest obsession: How To Break Up With Your Phone by journalist Catherine Price.
The actress confessed that during the coronavirus pandemic she’s been thinking a lot about how we “use the cellphone. Now that I’m inside and I don’t have all the external distractions, I’m really focused on how much time we are on our phone.” While Halle admitted that we don’t want to break up with our phones in a literal sense, she did share, “when I say break up, I meant, give your phone a break — figure out ways to have more mindful living while we’re in a relationship with this phone.”
Halle then shared one of her favorite excerpts from the book: “If you wanted to invent a device that could rewrite our minds, if you wanted to create a society of people who were perpetually distracted, isolated and overtired, if you wanted to weaken our memories and damage our capacity for focus and deep thought, if you wanted to reduce empathy, encourage self-absorption and redraw the lines of social etiquette you would likely end up with a smart phone.” After reading the incredibly in-depth breakdown on society’s relationship with their cellphones, Halle admitted that it completely blew her mind.
More than anything, Halle immediately took from the segment of text “the damage we could do” if we don’t alter how we interact with our cellphones. One of the best pieces of advice Halle took from How To Break Up With Your Phone was “to download an app blocker.” The actress revealed that the tool “blocks out the apps that might inundate…We don’t want these things chiming in all the time,” she explained.
The star even described how apps can lead us down “a black hole,” jumping from one app, to a new site, to a different site, and subsequently ignoring what it is we are doing in the moment. Halle also went into how the book details that we need to “set boundaries” between ourselves and our tech. “And that’s hard to do! I get it,” she assured fans. “We become so attached to our phones; I’m recording this right now on my phone!”
But finding time to set boundaries for “when the phone is just not appropriate” has been a key for Halle in her journey to live in the moment. “Like dinner time, you know, maybe you don’t want your phone out on the table. I don’t want my kids [Nahla, 12, and Maceo, 6] coming to dinner with their iPads…For me it’s been important to try and find some quality time with people that I care about.”Finally, Halle introduced a new term that even she didn’t know until reading Price’s book. “Phubbing,” she said. “Phubbing is short for ‘phone snubbing.’ Having your phone on the table during a meal, that’s ‘phubbing;’ checking your phone in the middle of a conversation, that’s ‘phubbing.’ And that’s just plain rude.” Price even delineates that texting at a party could even be considered ‘phubbing,’ which Halle wasn’t so keen on, especially considering that sometimes parents have to check in on their kids when they’re out.
Clearly, there’s a lot that Halle took from Price’s book. Although there were some elements and practices she may not have wholeheartedly agreed with, like guests leaving their phones in a basket when visiting a friends’ home, it’s clear that Halle is reaping the benefits of reading the book. Price offers analysis and a reading on Western society’s obsession and connection with our phones, and prescribes some tools that can help overcome the need to constantly be plugged in, described by The New York Times as a gateway “to feel like a human again.”