Smartphones have become our digital appendages, where we can tweet, text, snap a picture, shop, watch videos and more within a matter of seconds. While this accessibility can be convenient, it can also be overwhelming and even detrimental in the event of cell phone addiction.
What is Cell Phone Addiction?
Cell addiction is a compulsive behavior where you seek uses of your phone for emotional outlets. To put it another way, you might feel guilty, depressed, bored, or stressed, so you use your smartphone to zone out.
While temporary distractions can be useful in clearing your mind, they can also usher in a dependency which distracts you from important tasks such as work and takes time away from the people you love the most.
What Are Phone Addiction Symptoms?
Technology addiction can take varied forms of behaviors. Below is a look at some common ones you might encounter:
- You have a compulsion to check your phone even in important situations like work meetings, dinners with family or even dates
- You become distracted and are less likely to engage in normal communication with work colleagues and friends
- You participate in dangerous behaviors such as checking your phone when driving
Touching on the last point further, in a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, 56 percent of parents admitted to using their phones when driving. Even worse, 51 percent of students witnessed their parents engaging in this behavior.
- Added stress due to the compulsive nature of checking your phone
- You can experience insomnia because your body's melatonin mistakes the light from your phone as sunlight, making it more difficult for you to sleep
- You can also experience irritability, nervousness, and anxiety
These situations become dangerous because they reduce your mind's effectiveness to think critically due to lack of sleep, your emotions can become frayed, and your initial distraction becomes an addiction you cannot control.
6 Ways to Stop Phone Addiction
Stopping cell phone addiction requires you to make small adjustments to your behaviors. As these patterns set in, your focus and need to use your smartphone compulsively reduces until you reach the point you achieve a healthy balance. Here are some tips to assist you with this:
1. Inform Others of Your Struggle
After admitting to yourself that you have a technology addiction, it's important to share with others your struggles. They can form a supportive environment where they supply advice for reducing your usage, refer you to a therapist who can teach you coping mechanisms, and hold you accountable for your actions.
Many social media platforms and mobile applications provide notifications seemingly for every time someone breathes. This distraction is what can cause cell phone addiction initially. Therefore, delete the apps and take a social media break. By taking a step back it clears your mind and helps you develop actionable steps to tackle your addiction.
3. Ditch the Smartphone
If you struggle to stay off your phone even when you realize there's a problem, it might be time to part with it. You can buy a standard cell phone, that way you have access to a phone line in case of an emergency. Another alternative is to contact your cell phone provider and ask for them to turn off your internet access.
Related: How Much Data Do You Need?
4. Change How You Interact With Others
It's easy to pull out the smartphone to text others, but often, this contributes to you being on the phone too often. Instead of texting, invite your friends and family to meet in person. A cup of coffee, dinner or even a walk in the park is a great way to change up the routine and most importantly, build the habit of putting down the phone.
5. Alter Your Hobbies
Think of some of the behaviors you engaged in that made you increase your reliance on your cell phone then change them. To demonstrate, say you enjoyed online gaming, so the absorption of the game(s) increased your time online drastically to the point you were playing the game for hours at a time without any breaks. Instead of gaming online, find some friends and play board games. This allows you to stimulate your mind and socialize.
6. Find New Activities
Maybe the problem wasn't you were too absorbed in a hobby, you didn't have any to begin with, resulting in your boredom being the catalyst for the addiction. If this is the case, then it's important to find hobbies to occupy your time. Chances are they are easy to find. Your community has many projects you can participate in from volunteering to serving on councils. You can try your hands at a craft, play in an adult softball league, read, or even train for a 5k.
The goal is to find something that interests you and takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. In addition to this becoming a rewarding experience, it also alters your priorities away from compulsive smartphone use.
Make Adjustments Slowly
Don't try to do too much at once, as this can create anxiety which could backfire, forcing you back to excessive smartphone usage. Instead, make small adjustments to your behavior. To illustrate, set a timer for 30 minutes for your cell phone use. Once that time expires, leave your phone and engage in a constructive activity such as bike riding, meeting a friend for coffee, or reading. Setting small, realistic goals, can give you the feeling of control back while preventing the transition from being too stress inducing.
These tips can help you prevent or break your cell phone addiction. Once you have achieved a healthy balance in usage, compare cell phone plans to ensure you get the best deal and check out our parent's guide on children's cell phone use.