There is an irony to this column and that irony is that it will be shared on social media.

It’ll be used to stimulate a debate, it’ll be criticised, agreed with or maybe just ignored.

This is my grumble about my phone and social media; a forum I use for my job but one I’m increasingly switching off in my personal life.

This week Simon Cowell, him of X-Factor fame, said he’d been phoneless for 10 months.

He said the change had been good for his mental health and he’d become more aware of the people around him since giving up his phone.

You can be fined £200 for using a mobile phone in the PASSENGER seat of your car

He’s brave. And rich enough to employ someone to send texts, make calls etc for him.

A recent story - that we only discovered as it was trending on social media - came from an American school teacher who reported how children in her class said “I hate my mum’s phone and I wish she never had one.”

Out of the mouths of babes - that’s how they see us, mum/dad distracted by a phone.

I’m not yet at the point of putting my phone down for good but a few times recently I’ve put my phone down for a good chunk of time and not missed it.

Simon Cowell

My toddler son knows all about my phone, he knows it’s used to call grandma and grandad; he knows we sometimes watch CBeebies on it when a distraction is needed (it’s rare, but think doctor’s waiting room and bored child); he knows to say ‘cheese’ to my phone; and he’s getting the hang of using a touchscreen on a tablet or phone to play educational games.

Children of today need to know how technology works, but now is the right time to set that balance of screen time and no screen time and I need to lead by example.

I don’t want my child to think of me as being distracted by a phone and I don’t want to set a poor example of being distracted by a tweet or Facebook post then asking him to ‘pay attention’ in the next breath.

As a journalist, social media is a great tool. Where people would once pop into the office, write to us or phone us to tell us stories they contact us via Facebook messages, tweet us or we see reports online and engage with people for stories. We can’t and shouldn’t ignore it.

And as someone who wants to be part of a vibrant community, it’s often social media that assists in promoting events - and I’m always looking for things to do locally.

So there are many positives, but the negativity can be overwhelming.

In switching off a phone, you switch on to reality.

It’s led to more time playing on the floor, it’s led to me doing a bit more gardening, it’s led to me discovering some new music, it’s led to me finally doing a bit of DIY.

I discovered new walks that I’d been meaning to explore. On one I regretted not having my phone, such was the beauty of the scene before me.

It’s useful to capture moments and scenes that make me happy, that can be added to a photo album and shared and re-looked at in years to come - maybe I just need my camera!

While I won’t be following Simon Cowell and switching off for good, I will be putting the phone down for longer.

I need to find the right balance between social media and screen time and happiness - and setting a good example to little people.