Oh, Yes! You read that correctly. You might be a victim of mobile device addiction and be oblivious to that fact. It could be your smartphone, tablet or personal computer. Some of us already have a phobia (Nomophobia) of being out of contact with our devices to the point that anxiety kicks in whenever it’s not within easy reach. Sometimes, it gets so bad that we begin to display some symptoms which addiction specialist would tag as symptoms of withdrawal. This could appear as loneliness, release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, increased body stress levels, and being irritated. For most people, our devices are usually within 5 feet from us and it has found a way of influencing a part of our lifestyle due to the various activities we use them for.
Though our mobile devices, be it a smartphone, tablet or personal computer can be a productive tool to get work done, it can also overwhelm us. Research have shown that the use of these smart devices have found a way of affecting our brains and how we behave in our everyday lives. This effect is resulting in more negative reactions than good. We have to be weary and intentional about our phone use. Relationships are being affected in the least ways possible. Most of us find it pretty easy to text or chat up a friend compared to maintaining a face-to-face conversation.
According to research from the media analytics company comScore, the average American adult spent approximately 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every single day in 2017. Tally up the hours we’re projected to spend on social media apps over a lifetime and the sum comes to a whopping 5 years and 4 months. (To put that in perspective, it’s 36% more time than any of us spend eating and drinking.) – Health.com
We cannot actually blame ourselves for our high phone engagement because these phone/app makers design them in ways to always entice you all the time. It’s their business model. But we can do something about it so we can be more productive in our daily living. Here are some steps you could take in reducing the addiction to your mobile device:
Examine the triggers that draw you to your phone:
Evaluate the triggers that make you reach for your phone and sort which is beneficial and which is not. It is possible this comes up whenever you are bored or anxious. Instead of going for the phone, you could try meeting a friend for chat or practice some other relaxing activity like reading a book or listening to a song.
Focus more on physical social interaction
Understand that there is a wide difference between having a chat on social media and having an actual live conversation with a person. It is worthy to note that during real life social interactions people feed on gestures, body languages, facial expressions, eye contact and other forms of non-verbal communication which helps make conversations lively and interesting. It would be unfair while interacting with a person and you are checking your phone every other minute. Your mobile devices cannot express your emotions the way you would. Warm hugs, laughter and smiles help in bonding during human interaction. Emulating these would go a long way.
Also take time to visit friends and have hangouts whenever you get the chance.
See a therapist:
If you find out your addiction is out of the ordinary, meeting up with a therapist could go a long way in helping you rid yourself of mobile addition. A couple of sessions with a professional therapist should most likely help in liberating you from bad phone habits.
Go offline for a while:
Disconnecting yourself from the internet once in a while would help you escape from the social noise. Also, turning off notifications and setting your device to “Do not Disturb” mode would save you from the incessant buzzing coming from it.
Social media apps have become a part of our lives and most of us use it for business amongst other things. If it is not important you use one, you could as well uninstall it and use the web version of the social platform if need be. This way, you would have to go the extra mile logging in to your account and you might put in some considerations. The grand scheme of it all is to allow you concentrate and focus more on other things which might be needing your attention.
We won’t necessarily die if we do not use our mobile device. We just have to be cautious and intentional about our use of these devices. It is also important to realize that taking deliberate action to curb this excess would not be achieved in a day but can be done slowly. It could take days or maybe weeks. What we should have at heart is that we should be conscious of anytime we pick up our phone no matter how attractive it might seem at that time. If we wake up tomorrow and find ourselves on an island in the middle of nowhere we would definitely survive because we are humans and we are good at adapting.
This is an enlightening and informative article. Thanks Josh. I await your next article.