Please bear with me for my long answer, I had to collect information as much as possible and had to list each and every other point as I felt that this is one of the hottest topics of this decade. Let’s start, shall we?
We all know we’re attached to our smartphones, but sometimes the addiction doesn’t really hit us until we’re left without it. “We have all gotten so used to having these appendages, these devices that are almost like our other limb, that when they’re not there we start to panic“.
When we are addicted to something, we search for ways to justify our habit. With cell phones, two critical cultural ideals have helped us do so. First, multitasking has long been considered a skill and integral to success. We feel like we can – and should – do everything at once. Second, society tells us that being constantly connected is not only possible, but necessary and beneficial. The proliferation of in-vehicle technology that allows for hands-free calling reinforces this idea.
Overuse is often defined as a “dependence syndrome,” which is the term used by the World Health Organization (WHO Expert Committee, 1964) to replace addiction orhabituation.
This is categorized either as substance abuse, such as from psychoactive drugs, alcohol and tobacco under ICD-10, or a behavioral addiction, such as a mobile phone addiction.
- 70% check their phones in the morning within just one hour of getting up
- 56% check their phones before going to bed
- 48% check their phones over the weekend
- 51% constantly check their phones during vacation
- 44% reported they would feel very anxious and irritable if they didn’t interact with their phones within a week
The main reasons for this smartphone addiction are,
1. They make us feel happy and productive – Many people need — yes, need — their phones to access the Internet, according to Pew’s survey of U.S. adult smartphone owners, published Wednesday. About 7% of respondents said they required their phone to go online since they did not have broadband or any other options for Internet access. The most “total smartphone-dependent” Americans, as Pew termed this category, tended to be in low-income and non-white groups.
2. For you, your phone is one of the most important experiences that you treasure – If you are a phone addict, then you would most likely crave being on the phone a little too much.
Your phone will thus be one of the most important experiences for you, and you will most likely treasure those experiences. It is also likely that you will treasure these experiences more than the actual events that are happening around you.
3. The false contentment – Email, in particular, gives us satisfaction due to what psychologists call “variable ratio reinforcement.” That is, we never know when we’ll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. “It’s like slot machines,” Greenfield says. “We’re seeking that pleasurable hit.”
Smartphones, of course, allow us to seek rewards (including videos, Twitter feeds, and news updates, in addition to email) anytime and anywhere.
4. We think that it provides real happiness, but in reality it doesn’t – when a cell-phone user experiences feelings of happiness and/or enjoyment from a particular activity (e.g., a funny, six-second Vine video sent by a friend), the person is more likely to engage in that particular activity again (positive reinforcement).
The use of a particular cell-phone activity may also operate under the principle of negative reinforcement (reducing or removing an aversive stimulus). Pretending to take a call, send a text, or check one’s phone to avoid an awkward social situation, for instance, is a common negative reinforcing behavior practiced by cell-phone users. Any activity that is rewarded can become addictive. The rewards encourage higher involvement with and more time spent in the particular behavior.
5. Addiction to text messaging – The mobile phone messaging system is very popular since it gives us the possibility to use a cheap and written (and therefore preservable) method of communication that is indirect, just like a letter. In the past, those who could not express themselves verbally could do so through a post card or a letter. Today, this is possible via emails or, even quicker and available to everyone, through a text message.
Soon enough, the need to say a lot in a ‘short message’ led on to the development of a synthetic language made up of abbreviations and codes and which is now common among young people. However, there is a real risk of becoming addicted to text messaging, especially during adolescence as this synthetic language can heavily influence cognitive and emotional functions when developing, which causes the creation of a synthetic type of thinking too.
6. We would like to check our phone often/ rather our phones have made us so?
7. Smart phones are the new cigarettes – why? because they tend to cause cancer!!!
Some statistics for your benefit:
1. Average peeking time
2. Selfie centered
3. A little too much?
4. How about a actual date?
How to over come this addiction?
1. Turn off notifications – The technology that enables our phone to buzz whenever we get an Instagram like, WhatsApp message or Twitter reply is a modern marvel, but you don’t have to accept it by default. Almost every app on your phone can be tweaked so that push notifications are disabled, and in many cases you can finely tune what you really need to hear about and what you don’t.
2. Uninstall apps – If turning off notifications doesn’t really work for you, go nuclear and uninstall unnecessary apps completely. You could start by focusing on the apps that bring websites and online services to your mobile: do you really need to have Facebook and Twitter on your phone as well as your laptop? Is it essential that you have access to email on the go? Can you wait until you’re back at your computer to check Pinterest? Besides, in a pinch you can always just access them through the mobile web.
3. Activate Airplane Mode – The benefit over simply turning off your mobile completely is that you can still snap pictures and access local files on the device.
4. When you arrive home at night, put your phone on silent and leave it in a drawer – Set a time to check your phone to see if you’ve missed any urgent calls. If there are none, then put it back in the draw.
5. Enjoy the outer world – When you’re out walking, bring your attention to the world around you. Look at the sky, the trees, the sun, and feel the breeze. What do you smell, see, hear, taste, touch? Be conscious of not being distracted and pulling out your phone to text someone.
6. When you are on public transport- set aside moments that are purposely free of interaction with your phone, including music.
7. Weaken the habit loop – Phones have a variety of different triggers and they’re nearly inescapable. You might have alert sounds for multiple different apps, vibrations, and notifications onscreen. Even when the sound is off, you can see your phone light up from several feet away and instinctively reach for it. To weaken the habit loop, just turn off the triggers.
8. Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock – Set a real alarm, turn it off and roll inward, towards your spouse, for a quick hug or touch, before rolling outward to check your phone.
9. Use an app to find out how many times per day you check your phone – It seems counter intuitive to use your cell phone to, um, use your cell phones less. But this step is important. “The first thing is recording and awareness of your use and abuse — become aware of how much time you’re spending on your phone and how many times a day you’re checking it.
10. Make a to-do list of real things you want to do during the day — and don’t check email, Facebook, or Instagram until it’s done – Create a daily bucket list — what you want to be doing more of but feel like you don’t have the time for.
11. Get a hobby – the best way to think about using your phone is to think about why you want to disconnect. What are you missing out on by using your phone so much that you wish you could be doing instead?
12. Unsubscribe from all of the email newsletters – Go to Unroll.me. Sign up. It’ll show you a list of all your subscription emails. In order to unsub from more than five you’ll need to share something about http://unroll.me on Facebook… which is annoying, yes, but totally worth it to have a much less cluttered inbox. ah!, freedom.
13. Carry a book with you – It’s not pretentious, it’s just smart! This way whenever you’re waiting in line and bored, you have something to look at that isn’t your phone.
14. Don’t bring your phone to work meetings, or to class – This is another easy rule to live by without a thought. Make a habit of bringing a pad of paper and a pen instead. This way you won’t be tempted to check your phone mindlessly during especially boring periods. It also makes you look more attentive and respectful.
Last but not the least I came across this image and I am tempted to post it here 🙂