Statistics of surveys conducted on smartphone users show that,
- Smartphone users check their phone, on average, 63 times a day
86% use it while talking to friends and family
35% check their phone within 5 minutes of waking up
More than 80% check their phone within an hour after getting up/ before going to sleep
- 58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones once
According to research from RescueTime, one of several apps for iOS and Android created to monitor phone use, people generally spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones every day, with the top 20% of smartphone users spending more than that.
Smartphone purchase is rapidly growing every year. That means more and more people can become cell phone addicts in the future. And what is it doing to our overall well-being?
It is affecting our health and relationships badly. And we are becoming a generation who is focused on consuming and not having the ability to think for ourselves.
At every sign of boredom, and at every sign of distress, we tend to pick up our phones. We don’t take the time to really feel our emotions and process them. Numbing our feelings with scrolling on smartphones make us lose touch with ourselves.
By the way, did you know that cell phone addiction has a name?
If you are obsessive about smartphone checking and not having it around makes you anxious, you could be having Nomophobia (short for NO-MObile phobia).
Your addiction can be moderate or strong depending upon your anxiety level. The following points are not absolute, but you can get an idea about whether you are overusing your smartphone or have an addiction.
What are the signs of smartphone addiction?
1. You check your phone even when you are not notified
Do you check your phone every few minutes? You know that there are no calls, messages or social media notifications, but still, you unlock your phone and go from one app to another to simply “check”.
2. You take your phone everywhere you go (even to the loo)
Do you feel anxious when you go out without your cell phone? Like, do you feel that something terrible will happen and you will be stranded and you won’t be able to ask for help because you have no phone? (in case this happens, you can ask for help from people the old way, and 99 percent of the time they will be having a mobile phone).
And do you feel you don’t have the patience anymore to sit in the loo even for a few minutes without filling that time with social media updates?
And you no longer want to eat food without watching videos on your phone because, again, you need to pass time even while having food.
3. Your day starts and ends with your mobile phone
The traditional alarm clock has been replaced by smartphones. And when the alarm rings in the morning, you stop it and go straight away to the apps you love. And you can’t keep yourself from checking these apps for the hundredth time just before sleeping too.
You sleep with the phone under your pillow or on your side table.
4. You check your phone while talking to other people
Do you check your cell phone in a social gathering? You are sitting at a table with your friends and when they talk to you, is your attention on your phone?
Then definitely, you are overusing your phone and failing to make real-world connections.
5. You think you have no time for hobbies
After becoming a smartphone owner, do you think you have no time in your day to do the things you love?
Maybe because you are filling it with smartphone browsing. Track the time you are spending on your phone using apps, and you will know why you don’t have time anymore.
6. You panic when you can’t find your phone around
Does the thought of losing your mobile phone frighten you?
According to Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University, 46% of young adults in a survey said they’d rather have a broken bone than a broken phone.
What would you rather have? Broken phone or a broken bone?
7. You are always distracted
Are you not able to focus on a task without checking your phone? Like studying, talking with people, working, or even while watching TV or Netflix, you have the urge to check your phone.
In fact, it has been found that humans now have an attention span (8 seconds) shorter than a goldfish has (9 seconds).
8. You miss your phone and feel lonely without it
If for any reason you don’t have your phone with you, you start missing scrolling on it and even feel lonely in social settings without your phone.
9. You procrastinate a lot
You know you have important things to do, but you are not able to get to it because of cell phone overuse.
10. You panic when the cell phone battery is low
You cannot live with the thought of having your phone run on a low battery. You can be always seen running for a charger. Or you want to avoid such hassles so you always keep your phone connected to a power bank.
You make sure your phone gets fully charged at night so that you can start using the phone right away in the morning.
11. You are on your phone when you feel difficult emotions
Instead of letting your feelings out, you try to run away from them by checking your phone. And in uncomfortable social settings, you try to act busy on your phone (happens more with introverts).
Studies show that teens who engage in more virtual communication than real-life communication lack the practice to build better communication skills. As a result, they lose the ability to develop resilience, grit and coping skills as these are developed through real communication.
12. You feel frightened when you forget your phone at home
Phone addicts can’t go anywhere without their phones. The thought of having to spend their day or even a part of their day without using a phone is intimidating for them. So if they forget their phone at home, they panic and will take the effort to go back to get it.
13. You feel annoyed when you can’t look up a piece of information instantly
Since you have access to all kinds of information on your fingertips, you become annoyed if you can’t access a piece of information when you want to.
14. You can’t imagine not having Wi-fi for a few hours
Imagine you have a power cut and the Wi-Fi won’t be available for a full day. And your cell phone data just hit the monthly quota as well. How would you feel?
Do you feel frightened by the thought? Do you feel that you can’t survive it?
Then you might be having a problem.
15. Your relationships are suffering
Do you feel you don’t talk to your family anymore? Are they complaining to you that you are always on the phone and not really listening to what they say?
Evaluate the status of your relationships. Instead of talking about your day, are you and your spouse scrolling on your smartphones lying on the same bed?
If you said “yes” to the above questions, you definitely are overusing this technology.
16. Withdrawal symptoms
Have you tried to break the smartphone addiction before and failed? Did you feel anxious and depressed about the fact that you are using your phone less than how much you wanted?
Like any other addiction, cell phone addiction has physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. What you experienced could be withdrawal symptoms.
17. You are not happy about your life
Another common thing found in smartphone users is they are becoming increasingly unhappy. Because smartphone users are constantly comparing their lives with the people they see on social media.
Suddenly they start feeling low about their lives and nothing you seem to have is enough.
Studies show that high usage of smartphones leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, and shyness.
18. You are always on your phone no matter what activity you are doing
You never take a break from using your smartphone. You are always using your phone no matter if you are driving, eating, talking to people, in the bathroom, on vacation, watching TV, etc.
Finally, if you want to test if you have nomophobia, and get your score, try this test.
I recommend installing a screen time tracker (iPhones have in-built tracker) and track your usage. That’s the best way to measure your usage. You can also read this article to help yourself to beat smartphone addiction and use your phone more mindfully.
Related: 45 productive things to do instead of social media
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