Smartphone addiction – this has become a debatable topic, and a very serious thing to monitor these days.
It is because we are living so much of a digital life. There are screens everywhere, in every form and in every size.
Nomophobia is the colloquial name for the fear of being without a mobile phone.
Right from gigantic wall mount televisions, to small hand held devices, and smart watches, there are screens everywhere.
A blessing and a curse – we are tied up to screens, partly for work and partly for entertainment and to seek information.
We get sidelined and distracted while we hunt for information and unknowingly even punish ourselves with information overload.
Being hooked to the screens (no matter what type), robs us off the nice moments where we need to be actually present.
We fail to connect ourselves with family and friends and rather be immersed in doing various kinds of stuff online.
It doesn’t matter whether you play games, or do anything really important – like “work”, or hang out in social media – it is really not necessary for our generation to be so glued to the screens.
We miss a lot of real life experiences by doing so.
And not just that – we end up putting ourselves at risk of various health and psychological issues.
Here are a few shocking and serious stats about smartphone usage!
- Adults spend an average of 45 minutes per day on social media.
- Teenagers who spend 5 hours a day on electronic devices are 71% more likely to have suicidal thoughts and attempts than those who use one hour a day.
- The average user touches their phone 2617 times a day!
- 10% of users who are “heavy users” swipe/tap their phone 5427 times a day!
- 75% of users have admitted to texting at least once while they drive.
- 41% of teens are overwhelmed by the amount of notifications they receive daily.
- We’ll spend an average of 5 years and 4 months of our lifetime on social media.
The stats are jaw dropping, unbelievable and really shocking.
We are, for the most part, not even aware of the harm the smart phones and other electronic devices (Television, gaming devices) do to us!
Looking into the screens for longer times means we are putting ourselves at risk of vision issues.
Not to mention, tied to a screen means a sedentary lifestyle and hence weight gain.
The sedentary lifestyle also causes damage to your cardiovascular health.
Since you need to substantially alter your posture to access your device – it promotes bad posture and hence neck, back, and hip problems.
In addition, using smartphones or other screen devices a few hours before sleep will disturb your sleep schedule.
So in this post let me share how you can reduce your screen time and make healthy choices instead.
#1 Be prepared to overcome smartphone addiction
When you and the kids, if any, are so used to screen time, it is often challenging to reduce the time.
Not just overcoming the addiction, but it can also be challenging to find a suitable activity to replace the screen time activity.
So preparation is the first step.
You must identify age-appropriate activities to keep yourself or the kids engaged rather than using an electronic device.
Or you could find a hobby that will keep you occupied, make you feel positive and creative – like reading, listening to music, gardening, painting, and the like.
For the kids, you could make them learn a new skill by signing up for classes if available.
Or have them help you with household chores, do some engaging and refreshing activities like drawing, coloring, playing with puzzles and stuff and so on.
If the weather permits, they can cycle, or play outside in the mud. They can also help you water the plants, and with other garden related activities.
The choices are really limitless. We just have to choose them wisely to keep ourselves and the kids engaged rather than falling back to a screen.
#2 Focus on people
When you are meeting people face to face, make sure you don’t check your phone often for messages or emails.
I understand that you could be a busy entrepreneur or you could be taking a break from your work.
So you might be expecting an important email or a message from your client or your boss.
However, when you meet people face to face, make sure you are present at the moment.
You could definitely use your phone to take a few selfies and make memories of your meet.
But constantly looking down to your phone screen when the other person is trying to communicate with you will defeat the whole purpose of your meet.
Besides, we humans are really forgetting to be present at any moment. And that’s dangerous.
#3 Move a lot
Most of our jobs require us to sit on a working chair for long hours. And some do so by staring at a computer screen.
I work online, run different businesses and websites.
For updating my websites, writing and publishing content, to work on my clients’ websites and to work with my team and communicate with my clients, I have to be online pretty much all the time.
Not just via e-mail, but I also let my website hosting clients reach me via WhatsApp. Which means I also check on my phone often while I’m away from my computer.
So if you are someone like me you will be tied to a screen for work, a lot. And I hate being stagnant.
I prefer to move a lot, often.
So whenever I make a phone call, I take brisk walks even if it is inside my house. Or do a few squats and lunges.
And I make sure I take enough breaks while I work on my desk. I get up often, and give my eyes, and back a break too.
#4 Limit or restrict yourself
I hate to use this tip.
But if you are someone who is addicted to checking your smartphone mindlessly very often, or if you are inclined to mindlessly scroll down on feeds for hours, you can use this tip.
There are apps and software (like Rescue Time) that can help you track the time you use online.
Using them and tracking where your time goes will help you get an idea of how you are distracted or addicted.
You can then limit yourself to using those particular websites.
There are options to block a particular website altogether, or limit your time on it.
As you can see, there are numerous options to avoid screen time altogether as well as limit it.
The choice is yours.
If you have kids around, and if you are glued to a screen most of the time, you will be setting a bad example for the kids.
Use these tips to minimize the use of electronic devices both for your own good and for the benefit of your family!