Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

2019-05-20T16:47:01-07:00May 20th, 2019|

How to Get Rid of Phone Addiction

If you spend several hours of your time each day scrolling through your phone, you’re far from the only one. This is a problem that many people experience. It’s likely that you could be suffering from internet or phone addiction.

It might not be as serious as other types of addictions, but it can certainly damage your lifestyle and stop you from achieving the things you want to in your career and life in general.

Because we’re all so dependent upon our phones these days, it’s easy to assume that this phone addiction is something you’ll just have to deal with and ignore. But that’s not the case. There are many things you can do to get rid of your phone addiction. In this article, we’re going to dive into the practical steps it takes to quit spending your free time on your phone.

What is Phone Addiction? Are You Addicted to the Internet?

crowd on their phones

Smartphone addiction, or as it’s sometimes called nomophobia (fear of not having your phone), is characterized by a few things. For many people, this is a fear of missing out (“FOMO”) or not knowing what’s happening either in your community or among friends and family on social media. It can also be linked to an internet addiction disorder. In short, it involves the compulsion to use your smartphone for entertainment, distraction, vanity, social networking, or some type of stimulation.

For some people, it’ll be about talking to people online, playing games or messing around on apps and social media. It can mean different things for different people. It can also be linked to other forms of addiction now that phones can be used to do so many things. For example, gambling addictions can be exacerbated by constant phone usage because there are so many gambling apps these days. It’s even regularly joked about that certain games, like Candy Crush, are “actually addicting”. 

How Can You End This Type of Addiction?

A recent study found that an average of 40% of smartphone users feel anxiety if they are not able to check their favorite apps on their phones. People of all ages tend to struggle with feeling dependent or glued to their devices. In a world where we all depend so much on these devices in our pockets, how can we limit our screen time and avoid phone addiction altogether?

Schedule Your Usage

If you can schedule a time for using your smartphone or set time limits and “down time”. Rather than picking it up every few minutes to check Twitter or fire off a pointless text message, you will find you spend a lot less time using it. Some people use an app to set an alarm for when they can pick it up and use it. You might set a rule that in your free time, you can only check the phone every half an hour or every hour unless it rings or you need to use a navigation app.

There are settings and apps that create periods of time when you’re not allowing yourself to look at your phone at all. This can be good for you. Of course, it takes willpower to stick to the rules that you’ve set for yourself and that’s the hard part. You can start off with smaller spaces between checking your phone and eventually force yourself to take longer and longer breaks between using it.

If you need accountability, set up a “family sharing” setting and allow someone you trust to lock your phone for you during off-hours.

Turn Off as Many Notifications as Possible

phone notifications

One of the things that makes breaking a phone addiction so hard is the fact that we’re all bombarded by notifications from our phone each day. There’s always something demanding our attention or causing us to read a news article or respond to a message or play a game. It’s never-ending. That’s what makes it so tricky to break free.

However, there is a simple solution to this you can explore. Head to the settings in your phone and tap Notifications. Here, you’ll be able to decide which applications are allowed to send you notifications and which aren’t. You should turn off as many of them as possible. By leaving only the vital notifications on, you’ll find yourself getting distracted by your phone less.

Delete the Apps You Know Distract You Most

If there are certain apps that you know distract you all the time and you want to be free from them, you should simply delete them. It’s not as drastic as it sounds; it’s just an app. Realizing that fact is an important step in your attempts to break your phone addiction, so start that process of deleting apps that you don’t want to waste your time any longer.

It can actually quite liberating and therapeutic to go through all of your apps and delete the ones that are demanding too much of your time and attention each day. If you’re addicted to the endless scrolling through Twitter, delete it for a while and see how you live without it. You might not miss it that much at all.

Kick Your Device Away From the Bed

like button

One habit that you definitely need to get out of if you think you might be addicted to using your phone is using it in bed. People who go to bed and then spend time using their phone before sleeping tend to sleep worse. That bright light and mental stimulation are not good for you when you’re winding down and preparing to sleep.

You should set a rule for yourself (and your partner if you have one) that says no phones are allowed in the bed. It just makes sleeping harder and increases the reliance and feelings of dependence you have for your smartphone. It’s much healthier to keep the phone out of the bed as far as possible.

Try to avoid checking any device at least one hour before bed. There have been proven studies that show screen time at night can throw off your circadian rhythm. This can keep your brain awake in stress or response mode when really, it needs to shut down to rest.

Use Devices That Don’t Force You to Rely on Your Phone

With the rise of smart devices in the home, it’s actually less important than it used to be to have your phone nearby at all times. For example, when you want to play music, you can just tell your Amazon Echo or Google Home device to play the music for you. You don’t even have to use your phone or even look at it.

You should make use of these devices so that you get into the habit of automating certain actions without having to rely on your phone to make them happen. It makes you realize that you really don’t need to depend on your phone as much as you used to think you did.

Going back to basic tools pre-technology can help, too. Get a wristwatch to tell time. Use a calculator for homework instead of the phone calculator. Take a point-and-shoot camera with you on vacation so you’re not carrying your phone around everywhere but you still capture some awesome memories.

phone color filter

Change the Color Filter

Did you know that you can change the color filter on your phone? You can change it to grayscale so that everything basically looks like an old black and white movie. This is useful because it makes staring at your phone and using it constantly less appealing.

We’re all simple creatures at heart and we like things that are shiny, bright and colorful. If you make it so that your smartphone is none of those things, you won’t be so attracted to it all the time. It won’t give you that aesthetic satisfaction that it used to. It sounds strange but this can make you use it less.

Track Your Habits

Finally, you should use an app that allows you to track your smartphone habits. That way, you can set goals for cutting down the time you spend on your phone or even the time you spend on specific apps and doing certain things.

Seeing what you’re doing might sound unnecessary but it does make a big difference for many people. It’s also very easy and anyone can do it. You might be spending more time on certain apps that you had realized, and changes can spring from that realization. Some people who begin tracking their usage come to a big surprise they were using their phones four to eight hours a day. Those hours add up through the week- that’s nearly a full-time job!

kid on phone device

Moving away from a phone addiction can be really tough because we all rely on our phones so much. Breaking the tie you have to your device can be done gradually using the steps above. If you maintain a strong mindset and really limit the amount of time you spend staring at the screen of your smartphone, your day to day happiness and mental state will improve.

Sources:

Challenges in Internet Addiction Disorder (2016)
Smartphone usage and increased risk of mobile phone addiction (2017)

If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.

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