- Quality of Life & Wellness
Cell Phone Addiction: The Symptoms and Solutions
In many ways, cell phones are addictive. The gadgets are an integral part of many people’s days. Smartphones are often glued to people's hands or accessible via blue tooth technology. Negative effects of cell phone addiction include isolation and unbalanced priorities. There are effective solutions for treating the addiction, once you identify the symptoms.
Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction
Take a step back and ask yourself how important your cell phone is to your day. If your phone use reduces the quality of your life, you may have an addiction. Perhaps you carry the gadget around with you even when you do not leave home; you look at the screen as you walk and constantly check it for missed calls.
Another symptom is you feel the need to have the device with you at the dinner table and look at apps rather than talking to family members over meals. Is your cell phone constantly in your hand or within your line of vision? You obsess over the item; your obsession is a cell phone addiction.
Look at your phone bill. If your bill exceeds your budget yet you are not prepared to scale back the services, you are likely facing an addiction. Another factor to consider is whether the gadget is getting in the way of your social life. Perhaps you cancel lunches with friends in favor of staying home to keep up with social networks via your mobile. When the device gets in the way of your real life events in a negative way, you likely have a cell phone addiction.
There are many causes of the addiction. The cell phone may be just one part of a larger addiction to technology in general. After all, many smartphones are equipped with apps to play games, browse the internet, and send emails.
Online social media networks are growing rapidly. There are several, with the big players including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your friends and family members are joining networks too. You often “talk” to one another on the networks as your schedules keep you too busy to meet face to face.
If you have made new online friends through the networks, your cell phone provides a way to connect with these people when they live in other cities and even in other countries. You trade media links, such as articles and photos. The interaction is fun and you begin to spend more time daily on your mobile device. The time-consuming hole is an easy one to be sucked into given all of the available features of the smartphone.
Cell phone addiction ties to FOMO, or fear of missing out. You fear something might be happening while you are busy in real life rather than online. You have the fear of missing something more exciting than what you are doing now. That fear certainly helps explain why cell phone use becomes addictive behavior.
The addiction is similar to one of the reasons why teenagers become addicted to cigarettes. There is peer pressure. The next time you leave home, notice how many people are talking on their phones, sending text messages, or checking emails. These activities are common. While high school may be over, you may still have desires to fit in with the majority of the population. You may also want to keep up to date on technology trends and therefore desire the latest gadget.
Treatment for Addiction
As with any addiction, the first step to overcoming it is to admit the problem. Answer honestly whether your cell phone usage is getting in the way of social activities and interfering with your productivity at work or at home. Once you realize the problem exists, you are able to look for treatment solutions.
Begin with small steps so that you do not overwhelm yourself. Completely cutting off mobile usage is a big step and it is not necessary to stop using the device. Instead, try writing down the amount of time each day that you use your phone. You might be surprised by the total amount. You will likely see that the high usage is often unnecessary, as you do not have to check Facebook three times a day or take the gadget to the bathroom with you.
Ground yourself. Understand that if you do not respond to a Google+ comment today, it will still be on the network for you to respond tomorrow. A comment about a photo you posted is not urgent! Begin to re-prioritize your surroundings.
If you start by spending one less hour a day using your smartphone, how could you use that instead? Perhaps you could go for a walk and enjoy the weather. You could meet a friend at a coffee shop for a visit. You are making connections with the world around you and weaning yourself off your cell phone.
Do You Know Someone Who Has A Cell Phone Addiction?
When you deliberately limit the amount of time each day you use your phone, you work toward disbanding the addiction. You increase your independence from the technology. You will likely find yourself more in tune with your surroundings and engaging more with people face to face. Over time, you will not need to put aside blocks of time without your mobile in order to use it less; your habits will change naturally. Cell phone addiction is a problem but is controllable through realistic treatments.