Are you letting your smartphone control your life?

smartphone addict

Hi, my name is Steve and I’m becoming a smartphone addict.

I read somewhere that the average adult spends four hours a day on their smartphone. My phone, via its inbuilt screen-time tracker, tells me that, lately, I’ve been exceeding that number.

And therein lies the problem – my smartphone tells me everything, from my heart rate to the number of steps I take each day to where the fish are biting.

Instagram is my favourite destination because it makes me laugh and it informs me. As an example, I’ve been researching pop-top caravans. Instagram took note and now bombards me with the myriad pop-up caravans on the market.

Every day it sends me information I believe I need to know. I don’t go looking. It comes to me.

If I needed it to, my phone alarm could wake me up and my phone’s ‘white noise’ could help me get to sleep.

All these things, and so much more, help to fuel my addiction, so I’ve started using my smartphone to find out how I can use my phone less.

What can you do?

These are the best bits of advice I can offer, but I’m not going to include links because that’s only going to drive you to your phone.

  • Turn off notifications. Doing that eliminates the compulsion to see who’s contacting you every time the phone goes buzz.
  • Create rooms where your phone can’t go, such as the dining room and your bedroom.
  • Leave your phone in one room, such as a laundry, so that you have to stand in an uninviting space every time you want to use it.
  • Buy a mini safe, keep it by the front door, and put your phone in it as soon as you get home.
  • Camp off-grid for a week. Without mobile reception, you’ll soon learn that not checking your phone 50 times a day is actually wonderful.

If you don’t think you’re a smartphone addict, ask your partner whether using your phone has made you anti-social?

Sociologists have given this condition a name. It’s called ‘phubbing’ and it has been shown to decrease relationship satisfaction and add to feelings of depression and alienation.

A 2016 study found that texting while having a conversation with somebody made that conversation less satisfying and that people were less connected as a result.

Hardly surprising.

So the next time you’re having a meal with a friend, turn your phone off, completely off, not just the blackened screen sort of off, and don’t become a phubber.

And if you’re the one being phubbed, speak up. Make the phubber feel guilty.

Good luck.

Are you a phubber? Do you check or use your smartphone multiple times a day? Is it an addiction? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also read: Smartphones linked to hypertension

Written by Steve Perkin

Steve Perkin had a long and distinguished career as a journalist, covering sport and general news and writing daily columns for The Age and the Herald Sun. He's written three books and is a regular YourLifeChoices contributor.

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