Is mobile phone addiction even a problem?
I don’t know about you, but I use my phone for just about everything. I read and listen to books on it, listen to music, use the maps, search for things on Google, take photographs, light my way with the torch… It’s made so many things easier and I’m not getting ready to ditch it, but maybe it’s time for some behaviour change.
Time-sucking addictive features
The problem for me is with the addictive time-sucking features, especially email and social media.
That’s not to say these things are inherently bad, but we must remember that addiction is DESIGNED into them.
And BTW there’s no irony with reading this on your phone… platforms like Facebook have the potential to add a lot of value to our lives so we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The dopamine response
Let’s take a look at an example…
You put up a post on Facebook or send an email to someone, and then put the phone away and go about your day.
But a few moments later you think about that post or email, and start wondering if you’ve had a response to it yet.
It’s this uncertainty and anticipation that delivers a hit of the brain chemical dopamine, which makes us feel good and drives us to get the phone back out again and check.
Even without posting or sending something, the sense that there may be something interesting waiting for us on the other side of a pull down refresh leads to another one of the 80+ times we check our phones each day.
Is this really a problem?
Only you will know if you’re using it ‘too much’, and everybody’s interpretation of this is going to be different.
If you find that it’s distracting you from important tasks, or you’re less ‘present’ when you’re with other people, AND you’re not happy about this then decide to take back control.
Just saying ‘I really should do something about this’ isn’t going to change anything.
We need some behaviour change
Try some of the following suggestions:
> Switch off notifications.
> Disconnect it from your smart watch.
> Go into social media or email apps DELIBERATELY rather than mindlessly.
> Set yourself some screen-free boundaries, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
> Use the flight mode at night or when you need to focus and get some serious work done (and keep your phone out of sight!) .
> Create rules for yourself for using your phone – i.e. put it away when you’re eating or if you’re having a conversation, don’t use it on the toilet… that sort of thing 🙂
It’s how we use it
Remember, phones aren’t harmful
Social media isn’t harmful.
Email isn’t harmful.
It’s how we use these things that can potentially harm us, if we’re not mindful about our habits.
Take control, and use your phones to add to your life rather than allow them to control you.
In the same way that keeping a food diary can make you more mindful of what you eat, being more mindful of your phone habits can have a positive impact on how much you use it.
I know that it did for me.