7 Signs of Smartphone Addiction: Can You Even Put Your Phone Down?
It's no secret that smartphone owners love their devices. Although, is there ever a point where smartphones become too much of a good thing? If someone can’t seem to live without their device, that’s a pretty clear sign things have gotten out of hand.
Do You Rely too much On Your Smartphone?
How can you tell if your mobile technology use has reached addiction levels? To help you self diagnose your condition, ask yourself these seven questions regarding smartphone addiction. The more questions that you answer positively, means the more power that your device holds over your willpower.
- Are you ever without your smartphone? Apart from the obvious like when you bathe (though, there exists accessories for this purpose), is there ever a time throughout your day when you don’t have your smartphone within arm’s reach? Also, if you do happen to become separated from “your precious,” do you find yourself feeling antsy?
- Is your smartphone a table accessory? By this we mean, during mealtime, do you leave your smartphone on the table, keeping it within reach as if it were an eating utensil? This is a problem because meals are one of the most social experiences that humans can have together. If you can’t stop checking social media during this time, then you’re cheapening the social experience of the meal.
- How many times per day do you check your phone? To find this out, think about how many times per hour you check your smartphone. Now multiply that number by how many hours you’re awake each day. The result might be higher than what you’re comfortable with. Continuously checking your phone, especially when you’re not expecting to receive a communication, is a telltale sign of addiction.
- Where do you place your smartphone when you sleep? Keeping your phone within reach when you snooze will only exacerbate the problem. For example, receiving a call or notification will disrupt your sleep, which can leave you groggy and moody the next day. Also, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, the temptation is to check your notifications as soon as you turn off the alarm. Having your smartphone be the last thing you look at before you go to sleep and the first thing you interact with when you wake up isn’t good.
- Do you “take care of business” when “taking care of business?” Do you use your phone while going to the bathroom? That’s gross. In the name of common decency, stop. Just stop.
- Do smartphone notifications change your emotional disposition? The problem with this is that notifications happen suddenly and unexpectedly throughout the day. If you get flustered with every notification, this will affect your overall state of emotional well-being.
- Given the chance, do you choose to communicate using your smartphone instead of face-to-face conversations? We’re not talking about texting norms like messaging a friend about the ETA of your visit. Instead, we’re talking about texting people from across the room, and purposely avoiding a person because you’d rather message them over Facebook. If left unchecked, these patterns of behavior can develop into a crippling social anxiety.
Did these questions hit a little too close to home? If so, here are four steps to take back your life from your smartphone.
- Take a simple approach to your technology. One of the characteristics about mobile technology is that it gives you access to a wealth of time-wasting apps. Instead of downloading every app that comes across your plate because it “looks cool,” try minimizing the apps and devices that you use to the bare minimum. This will help minimize distractions.
- Take a break from your phone. The simple act of keeping your phone in a separate room will do wonders to ease your smartphone anxiety. Also, as unthinkable as it sounds, try leaving your smartphone at home every once in a while, like when you go out for a social event. Doing this will help you be fully engaged with what’s going on (that is, unless your friends are glued to their smartphones).
- Go back to using separate devices. Dust off your old alarm clock and keep your phone out of the bedroom. Dig out your pocket calculator and show it some love. Substituting your phone in situations like this will minimize the times when you're using your phone for one task, only to get distracted by a random notification.
- Go cold turkey and just ignore it. If you truly are addicted to your cell phone, then just like any addiction (cigarettes, for example), you can always try the cold-turkey route and get rid of it. Granted, this is a rather drastic move and may lead to a few days of moody withdrawal symptoms, but sometimes drastic action is needed to take back your life.
Of these seven questions, how many do identify with? Let us know in the comments just how addicted you are to your smartphone.