When your smartphone sends you an alert with the average number of hours you spent using it on a given day… are you shocked? Are you even aware that you scrolled for 7+ hours, or did you do so mindlessly? Do your eyes hurt at the end of a long day?
Recent conversations have brought to light what constitutes a tech addiction, and what is a reasonable amount of time spent in front of a screen. There are ways in which to break the addiction and be more mindful of the use of technology – even for those who want to be less reliant on technology.
First, let’s classify what a tech addiction looks like
There are many signs that can determine if someone has a tech addiction, versus if they use their phone in a healthy manner. Here is a list of some of them:
- Constantly logging onto a specific medium (i.e. WhatsApp or social media) to check for the latest updates and notifications, and not being able to control it
- More often than not, being in front of the smartphone screen and being incapable to sit idly without checking it
- Using smartphones in social outings and gatherings and not being present, or taking part in the conversation or the fun
- Neglecting important aspects of life, such as work or relationships, to use technology incessantly
- Using technology in potentially dangerous circumstances, such as while driving or crossing a busy street
- Feelings of anxiety or stress that surface when logging onto social media and seeing the curated lives of others unfold on the screen
- Needing to capture every moment of every day to share on social media, to receive gratification from likes and comments
How to break the habit
If any of these signs resonate with you, there are healthy ways to change them, to control the use of technology.
- Start by silencing notifications for Apps that keep lighting up your screen
- Use the Do Not Disturb or tailored notification features, for only the important calls or texts that need your attention
- Keep your phone on silent and out of sight when at work or trying to concentrate on an important task
- Place your smartphone screen down or in your handbag / pocket when in social settings
- Take a digital detox, where you mindfully do not use your phone for certain hours during the day or on weekends
- Set time limits on social apps, that will log you out once you have reached them
- Place the most used apps on the last menu screen on your phone, to limit the urge to check them
- Check in with how you feel every time you scroll on social media channels, and ask yourself if this is something you want to continue to feel (if it’s negative, most likely it is not…)
- As you de-clutter physical spaces, you can opt to do the same with your phone. Remove unused apps, or even apps that are over used – and only add those most necessary to you after some time
- As your friends or loved ones to keep your technology addiction in check and to let you know if you have been on your phone for too long or are not present
The first step in addressing any addiction is to admit that it is a problem and make a decision to change it. Even if you would like to be spending less time on your devices and doing more fun and engaging activities, these tips could be for you.
There is so much to experience in the world – put your phone down, look around and actually live.