The use of a cell phone is a common practice for many people in today’s world. We frequently don’t second guess using our phones for anything from business to family communication to mindless scrolling.
Given this, it’s only natural for you to spend most of the day holding your phone in your hand. There is an app for almost anything, therefore there is nothing wrong with using them to simplify your life.
However, some people could discover that they become overly dependent on their phones to the point that it feels addictive.
The typical American now checks their phone 47 times a day, and if they’re younger, much more times, and spends about four hours per day staring at the screen. That represents around a sixth of our overall time on earth.
Given these figures, it makes reasonable that people are becoming more concerned about how we interact with our phones. Two of Apple’s largest shareholders issued an open letter to the company in January demanding that it give parents “additional options and tools” to help them put restrictions on their children’s phone use.
Facebook revealed in the same month that it has changed the algorithms governing its news feed to place a greater premium on “meaningful interactions,” or postings from friends and family members as opposed to posts from businesses. The Center for Humane Technology, a partnership of former IT workers concerned about the effects of the technologies they helped develop, was also established in February.
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Do additional activities that prevent you from checking your phone, they advise. In fact, I merely picked up my phone to shoot yet another stunning photo as my family and I were hiking in the mountains. But that doesn’t occur frequently.
Despite taking my phone merely to check the weather at first, I frequently catch myself idly looking through Facebook. I occasionally reach for my phone without any justification. Everyone nearby is acting similarly to me.
What is an addiction to phones?
Any impulsive activity that is excessive, causes great distress, and has an influence on a person’s everyday life is frequently referred to as “addiction.” Addiction can relate to the usage of particular substances or behaviours, such as gambling.
Cellphone use is not formally classified as an addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Gambling disorder is the only behavioural addiction that it acknowledges.
Internet gaming disorder is also noted as a problem that needs more research.
However, it is not yet accepted as a diagnosis. Reliable Source.
Even though excessive cellphone use isn’t formally classified as an addiction, it can nonetheless negatively impact a person’s life by leading to distress, interpersonal problems, and feelings of embarrassment.
Many experts would classify it as “disordered behaviour” and recommend therapy to lessen any negative effects phone use may be having on an individual’s daily life and level of suffering. Importantly, different therapies and coping mechanisms can be beneficial.
Determine the nature of your relationship with your phone.
Many people begin with a general aim, such as “I want to spend less time on my phone,” without being clear about what they’re truly attempting to achieve or alter, or why they reach for their phones in the first place. When their attempt to quit cold turkey fails, they become demoralised and feel helpless.
The equivalent of this would be to leave someone in order to have a “better relationship,” but then when asked, to acknowledge that you have no idea what a better relationship might entail. You are quite likely to find yourself in a relationship that is just as unsatisfying or harmful as the one you just left if you don’t take the time to figure that out.
Asking yourself what activities you engage in on your phone that make you feel happy should therefore come before anything else. What activities give you the creeps? Which actions or routines would you wish to alter?
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Smartphone addiction signs and symptoms.
2016 research A potential list of diagnostic standards for smartphone addiction was put up by Trusted Source, and some of these standards overlap with those for behavioural addictions.
They defined smartphone addiction as a problematic pattern of usage that causes significant discomfort and includes three or more of the symptoms listed below over the previous three months:
- a persistent inability to control your need to use your smartphone
- an increase in anxiety or irritability following a break from using your smartphone
- utilising your smartphone longer than you anticipated
- a persistent urge or failed attempts to stop using your smartphone or minimise its use
- using a smartphone excessively despite experiencing physical or mental side effects
The report also identifies several potential signs of cellphone addiction, such as:
- puts you at risk (e.g., crossing the road while looking at your phone)
- interferes with the performance of your relationships, academics, or job.
- either significantly distresses or takes a long time
The researchers added that a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or bipolar disorder shouldn’t be used to better explain the person’s smartphone use.
How using a cellphone may affect your mental health?
Excessive smartphone use has been linked in numerous studies to a variety of mental health issues.
Despite the fact that this association does not imply causation, it is nevertheless vital to be aware of the potential dangers associated with improper smartphone usage.
Depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are all linked to excessive smartphone use (ADHD).
There are certain significant dangers for teenagers and young adults. Smartphone use may result in impulsivity, low self-esteem, and issues with emotional management and cognitive function for these groups.
Additionally, it may result in physical alterations, such as sleeplessness, migraines, and even modifications to the amount of grey matter that makes up the brain’s outer layer.
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Some useful tips to leave the habit of smartphones constantly.
Stop being think before picking up your phone
Consider why you are doing this at this precise moment every time you are going to unlock your phone. Do you have a specific task to complete, such as scanning a document or texting your boss? Once this task is finished, put your phone away.
But more often than you might imagine, there are deeper motives behind checking your phone. For instance, I’m not very good at networking and find a large room full of strangers unsettling. I just gaze at my phone and act busy when I should be striking up a conversation with someone.
I became aware of this behaviour and made the conscious decision to put my phone away while attending more events to develop my networking abilities.
It’s simpler to restrain yourself once you realise why you’re checking your phone in the first place. You can talk to a coworker or make a call to your relatives if you’re feeling lonely. You can take a little walk or read a book if you’re feeling bored. There are numerous activities to engage in besides looking at a screen!
Use your phone to help you set limits
It can be a good idea to set limitations if you’re worried about how much time you’re spending on your phone.
The majority of smartphones come with built-in tools for tracking and limiting usage. This option may be found under Screen Time on Apple and under Digital Wellbeing on Android.
Some users might discover that they spend more time on particular apps than on their devices as a whole.
For instance, you can discover that you spend endless amounts of time checking social media apps or playing a specific game. You can set timers in your phone’s settings for specific apps to inform you if your daily limit has been reached.
Remove all obtrusive apps
On occasion, it’s impossible to resist tapping a bright icon on the Home screen. For social media apps and games, this is typically true. How can one resist this urge? Put all addicting apps on the second page, where it will be more difficult for you to accidentally access them. To make these apps more accessible to you, you can put them in folders like Games or Social.
No Facebook app is installed on my phone. Instead, I use Safari to check the newsfeed. I spent a lot less time there because it’s less practical than in the native app. Additionally, I don’t get a barrage of notifications from the browser tab. I always attempt to dismiss the Facebook tab in Safari after browsing it, so the following time I have to do more.
I also make an effort not to use my phone for a while after sharing something on social media. Checking your post to see how many likes and comments you’ve already received every five minutes is so alluring! I seldom ever submit anything that require a lengthy discussion because of this. That is how my lack of motivation to read and respond to the comments prevents me from grabbing my phone too frequently.
Choose some specific activities you want to carry out with your freed up time.
You’ll have more free time if you use your phone less. The majority of information will be spoken in brief segments when you are in the elevator or standing in line, for example. These can be fantastic occasions to relax and do nothing at all (which can be a surprisingly relaxing and restorative experience).
Additionally, you might have extended stretches of free time. It’s crucial to choose a few activities you’d like to do with this time, then arrange your surroundings to increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to these intentions in order to prevent yourself from turning to your phone for entertainment.
For instance, if you claim you want to read more, place a book on your coffee table so that it is easy to see and grasp when you collapse into the sofa after a hard day.
Take your instrument out of its case and set it up in the hallway where it will be convenient to grab when you have a few spare moments if you want to practise playing music. Make plans to spend more time with your family or a specific friend; then, for the duration of your time together, leave your phone in your pocket or bag.
Avoid using your phone before sleeping.
Constantly looking at your phone during the day reduces productivity, and staring at it right before bed can reduce the quality of your sleep.
I make an effort to put my phone away at least a few hours before going to bed. When I violate this rule, it hurts. I was laying in bed for a few hours after my final impromptu Google session at 12 AM, trying to stay awake but unable to doze off. I woke up feeling drained and unable to focus on anything.
To arrange the screen-free time, use the Android or iOS apps Digital Wellbeing and Screen Time. For instance, between 9 PM and 7 AM, your phone might only let you make phone calls and block access to the majority of apps. To ensure that nothing disturbs you while you sleep, you can set the Do Not Disturb mode to activate automatically each night.