The cell phone is one of the most used and productive tools in our daily lives. However, cell phone addiction is a major issue globally. It negatively affects work productivity, relationships, even our own health. We have this need to stay connected at all times. People are developing habits of checking news, friends, and memes on every social media platform. There’s even a term for the phenomenon—FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. Over time, this has evolved into an unforeseen cell phone addiction for a an entire generation.
In 2018, Seventy-seven percent of Americans now own a mobile device, up from 35% in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. And in a 2017 survey, Deloitte reported that US smart phone users check their phones as much as 47 times a day. Of these users, 47% said they have tried to limit their usage, but only 30% have succeeded. The lure of checking emails, and social media platforms like Facebook, is hard to resist. Of the respondents, 85% check their phones while talking to family and friends. Eighty percent also check their phones within an hour before sleeping, and upon waking.
The increasing use of the device can result in detrimental effects, including neck and spine problems, neurological issues, anxiety, insomnia, and even death from increasing cases of distracted driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said distracted driving
A Manhattan study on pedestrians found that 42% of those who entered traffic during a “Don’t Walk” signal were on their electronic devices. Injuries increased tenfold between 2005 and 2010.
The survey also asked respondents ways to restrict cell phone use. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents keep their smart phones in their bags or pockets when meeting people. Thirty-two percent mute notifications, while 27% keep their devices in their bags or pockets when they’re alone. Deleting apps is the solution for 26% of the respondents to reduce temptation to access apps. And finally, 26% of respondents turn off their devices at night.
Realistic Tips to Kick Cell Phone Addiction
Kicking the habit doesn’t always have to go the cold-turkey route. Once you are aware of the effects of cell phone addiction on you, you can slowly build a routine that is doable for you.
Don’t use your smart phone as an alarm clock
Snoozing alarms conditions you to be lazy in the first place. Your phone is the first thing you use, trapping you in a black hole of emails and social media. By the time you get up, you are fatigued by information that somehow affect how your day proceeds.
- Leave your phone outside your bedroom
Make your phone completely out of reach during sleeping time to reduce distractions. Also, the light from your phone messes with your circadian rhythm. The blue light mimics sunlight and causes your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. People can get insomnia, which can lead to other health risks like depression, obesity, and memory issues.
Turn your device on airplane mode
This is a great short-term technique, especially when driving, as it doesn’t distract you. It saves you on data as well.
Don’t bring your phone inside the bathroom
The bathroom is one of the worst places to use your smart phone. Leaving it at your desk outside the bathroom helps increase productivity and reduces spreading germs to your face, hands, and to other people.
Regulate app use
Apps like Moment, Space, and OFFTIME track your mobile usage and tells you which apps take most of your time. They also actively block you off from certain apps during specific times, and some even have mindfulness activities you can do in the meantime. You could also delete any excess apps that pull your attention away from more important things.
Leave your phone at home
This takes a lot of commitment and planning to execute. There was a time when we moved around all day untethered from our devices. Cell phone addiction can be avoided even in the modern digital age.
Time for Reevaluation of Smart Phone Addiction
It is evident that our dependence on our smart phones has gotten out of hand. In Apple’s 2018 WWDC Keynote, one of their main highlights is their new feature, Screen Time. This app helps users to be more mindful of how they use their devices by providing reports on app usage and device pickups. It can also set limits on apps and put apps on off limits on specific times for better productivity and sleeping habits. It is important for every cell phone user to realize how their mobile activities affect them, and start with simple, doable steps that will positively impact their everyday lives. It is time to put a stop to cell phone addiction.