Tackling the Issue of Smartphone Addiction

Home $ LIFESTYLE $ Tackling the Issue of Smartphone Addiction

Elena

04/08/2022
smartphone-addiction

Everywhere we look, smartphones are prevalent. What was once a niche item that only a handful of people owned has become something that practically everyone has. There are literally billions of smartphone devices out there in use globally.

This leads to the issue of overuse of these devices. Are people becoming addicted to their smartphones? It bears looking more closely at the potential issue of addiction to smartphones and the impacts that it can have.

Smartphone Addiction Definition

To put it simply, smartphone addiction is a disorder, though it has not yet been classified as one. It is one that involves the compulsive overuse of smartphones and other mobile devices. This usually centers around the number of times that a user will access their device and/or the overall period of time in which they are online in a given time span.

Compulsive smartphone use is only a single type of technology addiction. There are also addictions to gaming and social media, both of which are often accessed with the use of mobile devices. Smartphones tend to lend themselves to overuse because they can be carried anywhere (unlike desktops and laptops).

Though it is not yet a psychological disorder, experts believe that they have identified problematic behaviors and patterns as a result of smartphone addiction. It even has a name: nomophobia. Basically, this means “no mobile phone phobia” and the telltale signs include sleeping with a device nearby or having difficulty turning the device off.

A Smartphone Addiction Test to See Where You Stand

There are several smartphone addiction tests out there that can give you a better idea of where you stand. For the vast majority of us, it isn’t thought of as an issue in the least. We need our phones to communicate, play games, be entertained, capture important moments in life, and more.

Thankfully, there are several tests out there that can help users gauge where they stand in terms of smartphone addictions. The questions are generally quite simple and all get to the point of being able to separate from your smartphone.

The test might ask questions such as these: Are you spending more time on your smartphone than you realize? Do you lose track of time while on your device? Is the time you spend on your smartphone increasing? Do you find yourself depending on your device for communication as opposed to talking in person?

Where Your Smartphone Stand?

This is just a baseline to help determine where you and your smartphone stand. The more of these questions that you answer with a “yes,” however, shows a greater indication that there may be a problem. These issues also tend to be more prevalent for those who have a perceived purpose in them.

Those who use smartphones for work frequently check their phones, sometimes even subconsciously. Basically, if you have a “reason” to be on it, then it only increases the chances that you will become addicted to having it. Anything else in life that we become too dependent on can become a problem if we allow it to.

A quick search will bring up several different tests; it should take no more than a few minutes to complete them. For the most part, the questions are quite similar, so it should not be a matter of taking one test to get the results that you have been looking for.

Are Smartphones Addictive?

This is a matter of debate, particularly in the psychology community. While there is not, as of yet, an official classification for smartphone addiction as a disorder, the belief is that more than enough people demonstrate traits that make it one.

It appears as if it is only a matter of time before smartphone addiction becomes a recognized disorder. There are more than a few reasons why this becomes reality for some people.

We have all had an experience similar to this: breaking or losing your smartphone, even for a few hours. In most of us, it creates a feeling of discomfort at the very least. For some, it can incite panic and feel like the world is ending.

This is partially because of how much of us—who we are, the information we share—is tied up in these devices. Banking information, emails, text messages, logins, and more are all available from one screen. When we don’t have our devices, it can feel like we are exposed and that anyone can look into this private part of our lives.

Why and When We Need Smartphone?

It is all too common for people to feel anxiety if they have to put their phones down for even a little bit. Every time we get a notification, we get a rush of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, to the brain. That only reinforces the behavior and the feeling of a “high” that can come with getting a new notification.

If anything, it has changed the way that we interact with one another. There was a time not so long ago when having a smartphone go off in, say, the middle of a conversation would have been seen as rude. But now, it is commonplace for people to interrupt conversations with phone calls, checking emails or text messages, or even looking at social media.

Simply put, we feel compelled to respond to these notifications as they happen. There is an inherent need to be aware of what is happening on our devices at all times. And with greater connectivity, it seems as though that need is only becoming worse.

How to Beat a Smartphone Addiction?

Getting over a potential addiction to smartphones can feel as though it is an impossibility. After all, with so much of our lives tied together, how can anyone expect to put their phones down for more than a few minutes at a time?

1.  Take breaks

But the key here is to take screen breaks. Depending on where you are in your addiction, it may take some time to build up to substantial breaks. Those who feel anxious, depressed, struggle to sleep, or are totally distracted can start with 15-minute intervals.

The goal here is to demonstrate that a separation from the smartphone is okay. Nothing drastic will happen, and it will likely lead to improvements with all of those issues. When you have begun to feel comfortable with those short breaks, longer breaks can come into the fold.

Of course, there are factors involved that can make this extremely difficult. People who have jobs that require constant communication struggle with the boundaries between their work and private lives. Having clear boundaries as to when calls are okay can mean leaving a smartphone off for an extended period of time. Speaking of this…

2.   Set rules

If you find yourself struggling to separate from your smartphone, it may be time to set rules as to when you can use the device. Maybe you need to make a rule to only use the smartphone during work hours or leave it in your bedroom while you are at home.

The last thing that you want to do is be isolated with your smartphone while dinner is happening or guests are around. These are just a few of the instances in which an addiction to smartphones can present challenges.

By establishing rules about use, it means that you become familiar with when you can use your smartphone and when you can’t, and the anxiety can become reduced. You know in your mind that it isn’t time to use your smartphone and that is just how it is.

3.   Take out the appeal

Remember those notifications and the rush of dopamine that they deliver? Take all of that away by turning off notifications. When you aren’t constantly inundated by alerts or notifications, it becomes easier to go through longer periods where you aren’t looking at your phone.

This can take some time to get used to. If anything, smartphones have created a fear of missing out. We feel as if there are notifications or alerts on our phones that require our attention even if nothing is actually happening.

It takes time to develop these tricks and to find some sense of consistency with putting the smartphone down. But when you manage to find something that works, it becomes a lot easier to get your time back for yourself. Before long, you can take extended breaks and prevent yourself from feeling that addiction to your smartphone.

Conclusion

Though it has yet to be officially recognized as a psychological disorder, there is no denying the dependence that some have on their smartphones. The more that we integrate our lives with these devices, the more that we will depend on them.

Even if you are the type of person who can put the device down, that is becoming more difficult with each passing day. The more we tie ourselves to these devices, the more we “need” to have them on us at all times.

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