Good Sunday morning, everyone! Do you have a smartphone? Silly question, right? Have you given much thought to how it has changed your life?

There is no doubt that it has made communication and getting information easier. These smartphones aren’t just for making calls. We have access to the whole world, it’s also our calendar, our map, our photo album, our flashlight even. But how is it really helping your relationships.

I read that if you are conducting a meeting, and someone places their smartphone on the table in front of them, they are not fully engaged in what you are saying. It’s true that if this device is in your hand you aren’t really giving your full attention to the person you are with, the attention he or she rightly deserves.

Next time you go out to eat look around and see how many people, while waiting on their food, are on their phone instead of engaging in conversation with the person(s) they are with. Smartphones have gotten in the way of how we communicate with one another.

How about driving? Watch the next time you’re at a stop light or just driving by someone in the next car over. Pay attention to how many people are putting your life in danger because they can’t put their phone down while they are driving. It is actually very scary.

So, who is in charge? Are you the master of your smartphone or does your smartphone own you? These phones do have real consequences at home, at work and on the road.

Here are some suggestions to think about with the use of a smartphone.

Set a time limit to be on your phone. Studies have been done that show how the use of these devices hinder our sleep even. Too much Facebook, YouTube and numerous games are not good for us. Pick up an actual book and read it, get outdoors, maybe actually go for a visit where you sit down, have a cup of coffee and some good conversation.

Don’t ignore people. Even the politest smartphone users have at times been caught on the phone when it is their turn in line at the grocery store or ignoring the waiter. The person on the phone is who should be put on hold not the person who is there to wait on you.

Of course, the main one, the one that is taking lives every day — don’t text and drive. I don’t care how great a driver you are, or how great you are at multitasking, taking your eyes off the road is a recipe for disaster. There is no message worth your life or anyone else’s.

I hope you have a safe Memorial Day weekend and you make lots of great new memories. Using your phone only to capture a great picture to remember it by.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512