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How to Quit Your Smartphone Addiction
Are Smartphones Really Addictive?
The proliferation of smartphones cannot be ignored any longer. Maybe several years ago, we could still say that the idea that people can get addicted to smartphones is highly unlikely. If you take a look at factors such as the availability of smartphones and how many people actually have these devices, the question of smartphone addiction becomes a valid one.
Even if we do not immediately jump to the conclusion that smartphone are addictive, we can hardly deny that they have a strong impact on society. Just take a look around you the next time you go out for dinner. How many people spend more time fiddling with their smartphones rather than actually engaging in face-to-face conversation with their companions?
Smartphone addiction is a reality that we have to face head on. Like it or not, it is a very real threat to how we interact with those around us. If you are fully aware of this threat, or if you are already in the throes of over dependency on your device, why don't you take a look at some practical tips which can help you overcome the problem?
Photo credit: Symic on Flickr
Which smartphone brand do you prefer?
Some Smartphone Usage Data
Maybe at this point, you are not that convinced about the penetration of smartphones worldwide. While that is highly unlikely, let me share some cold hard facts with you, backed up by numbers. Remember, numbers do not lie!
This infographic takes a look at the numbers on smartphone usage in a few key countries: Japan, the United States, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. I do not know about you, but the numbers are rather surprising in that Singapore leads everyone, followed by the US, the UK, and Japan. It is also very surprising that Japan only has 6% usage.
However, when we go further into the graphic, we see just how much people rely on their smartphones. From going online to listening to music to using apps to playing games to using social networks - the numbers are quite high. Still not convinced that there is such a thing as smartphone addiction?
Infographic credit: Infographic Labs
Tips to "Unplug"
I hope that at this point, you do realize that smartphone addiction does exist. Not everyone is prone to it. Not everyone who has a smartphone develops a dependency on the device. However, if you find yourself reaching for your phone to check your emails or Facebook (or whatever) first thing in the morning - on top of holding the device all throughout the day - you might want to take a step back and take heed of these tips.
Acknowledge your dependency
Just like with any other kind of addiction, it is imperative that you acknowledge that you may have a problem with smartphone use. I may have jokingly mentioned reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, but that might just be one of the signs!
Think about it. How do you feel if you accidentally leave your phone at home and have to do without it the entire day? How do you feel when your smartphone runs out of battery in the middle of the day without having the ability to recharge it? How often do you check your phone? For how long can you stand NOT taking a look at your phone?
Once you have identified the fact that you might be too dependent on your smartphone, you can take the next step and actually do something about the situation.
Turn your phone off
Yes, it is as simple as that. That's what they call cold turkey, isn't it? As an avid smartphone user, however, I do understand that it is not possible to always have the device turned off. After all, that would defeat the purpose of having a phone. What I am suggesting, however, is to turn it off when possible. Here are some practical instances.
- Before going to bed. You don't need to be woken up by the beeping and vibrating of the phone anyway.
- When you're at work. It will be a good boost to your productivity!
- When you're spending time with friends or family. Let's say during dinner or breakfast.
These are only a few examples. I am sure you can think of other situations wherein you can turn your phone off so that you can focus on the task at hand, which is usually more important that checking your phone ever 10 minutes.
Use the silent mode
So turning your phone off is not practical at all times. That is why they invented the silent mode. Well, maybe not, but this mode can help you unplug yourself from your smartphone. This is actually how I started cutting myself from my dependence on the device. I found that I was always on the lookout for those telltale sounds that let me know if I have a message or whatever it is that is going on with the phone. Once I made it a habit to always have my phone on silent mode, I realized that it was easier to obsess about it!
Sure, you might miss a message or two and not read it till later, but that will not kill you. In fact, just like with turning your phone off, using silent mode allows you to focus on other, perhaps more significant, things.
The chances are that you are not alone in being too attached to your smartphone. More so, you are probably not alone in yearning to get rid of that attachment. Why don't you talk about the issue with the people who are closest to you? Whether they have an issue with smartphone addiction or not, they will probably want to support you in your endeavor.
One trick that I particularly like applies to when a group of people go out for dinner or drinks. The "rule" is for everyone to place their phones in the middle of the table, thereby creating a stack of phones (or a pile, if you wish). For the duration of the gathering, no one is allowed to touch their phones unless there is an emergency. The person who gives in and picks up his phone will have to foot the bill.
You might initially think it's ridiculous, but give it a go, and you just might be surprised at how easy it gets after a while.
Photo credit: changgpp on Flickr
I am no scientist or social behaviorist, but I do think that one reason for smartphone addiction is the need to occupy one's time. Smartphones are handy, always within reach, and before you know it, you can't seem to live without them. One way to deal with this is to find alternatives to smartphones. In short, find things to do with your life! Here are some quick ideas.
This is a little tricky, due to ebooks. This will apply to those who are too dependent on their smartphones because of games, social networking, and other similar activities. If you like reading, and you can't seem to find the time to read, why not pick up your old love?
Instead of taking out your smartphone when you're having coffee or lunch alone, why don't you make it a point to bring along a good book and read that instead?
Catch up with friends
Face to face, that is. Sure, you may talk to your friends regularly on Facebook or via text message, but when was the last time you actually met in person and had a good time? Arrange a get together, and remember that little trick I shared earlier!
Talk to your family members
Bored at home? You'll probably reach for your smartphone as a default. Why not go out of your room and see what your family members are doing? Maybe they are also bored and would welcome some human interaction. The kind that does not require a smartphone, that is.