Are You Hooked on Your Smartphone? Mobile Addiction and How to Avoid it

by Matt Klassen on June 8, 2015

Constantly casting furtive glances at your smartphone? Do you have to use your phone before bed and when you wake up? Do you feel euphoria when you get an incoming message; or a sense of panic or fear if you can’t find your favourite mobile device? If you find yourself doing or feeling any or all of these things, you may be suffering from smartphone addiction.

There are few technological devices as ubiquitous in our constantly connected culture as the smartphone, and as handy as that mobile companion is for managing the complexities of our day-to-day lives, for many it’s becoming increasingly difficult to put the smartphone down; with many now finding it difficult to function at all without the device close at hand.

It’s a psychiatric condition that has been dubbed Nomophobia (No-Mobile-Phone-Phobia), and as goofy as the clinical name may sound, it’s no joke, as more and more people are finding their dependency on their smartphones so overwhelming that they’re now seeking out the assistance of professional counsellors. Now the truly bad news is with 2 billion smartphone users worldwide and billions more to come, this is a problem that will only get worse. But here’s a few tips for how to break the smartphone spell, or avoid it altogether…

According to a study from website TopCounselingSchools.org, 60 percent of American adults currently use a smartphone, a number, I will admit, that strikes me as conservative. Among the smartphone users, the study reported that 72 percent admitted that they’re within five feet of their mobile device most of the time, and the vast majority of users, 94 percent, suffered anxiety ranging from mild desperation to outright sickness when their phone was misplaced.

All that to say, as part of the smartphones integral place in our lives, such mobile devices have also assumed an increasingly inexorable part of our emotional lives as well. It’s not simply that smartphones are handy tools to manage our lives, they’ve become things we need, things we simply can’t live without.

Now if you are feeling the pull of smartphone addiction, there are several things you can do to break the habit or avoid forming it altogether. First, find time everyday to turn off your phone, at least one break of 30 minutes or more where you won’t look at your phone. Second, once a month find time for a longer, more sustained break, setting aside a day or a weekend where you’re free from the phone. Third, don’t have your phone in the room where you sleep, as the more you have to work to look at your phone while resting; the less likely you are to do it. Fourth, set rules where you won’t use your phone (at the dinner table, while with other people, before bed etc…), and finally, if your connection with your smartphone simply seems too hard to break, consider a professional counsellor, one preferably trained in technological addictions.

The simple fact is that technology changes us. Despite what many think, technology is not a benign component of our lives, but something that exhibits a great deal of influence over how we think, act, and interact with others. While such influence isn’t necessarily a negative thing, uncritical adoption of such technology without considering its influence certainly is.

Therefore, as with many things in our lives, the key to properly utilizing technology like smartphones is, and will hopefully always be, moderation, remembering that the smartphone is a tool that we control, not the other way around. But that said, if your smartphone has taken control of your life there are ways to break those chains, everything from making time to disconnect to actively seeking out professionals who can help. It’s your life; don’t let your smartphone tell you how to live it.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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