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How Smartphone Addiction Makes Us ‘Prisoners’

The quest for information has us locked in our own ‘cell’ phones – the effects of smartphone addiction are beyond real.

Our smartphone addiction has kept us occupied – whether it is through the constant buzzing or the swarm of data that we encounter everyday. We are not addicted to smartphones themselves, but the information and entertainment that keeps us engaged wherever we go. It is ironic that we don’t remember most of what we read, yet we are compelled to read one headline, one notification, or one post after another. 

Smartphones tend to have that effect on us. It ensures that we are handcuffed with responsibilities – whether it’s making sure that your followers know what you’re wearing or to post a quote in exchange for a few comments. In fact, we create and choose to tie ourselves down to these responsibilities. Nobody is compelling us to use our smartphones. Hence, the effects of smartphones on us, is indeed alarming. 

We are losing precious time 

Have you ever heard of the term, ‘opportunity cost’? The opportunity cost of using smartphones refers to the loss of other alternatives due to the time spent on smartphones. When we spend time on our smartphones, we choose not to exercise, to study, or to go out with friends and family. 

Some of us even experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). When your friends post pictures and Instagram stories of them eating hipster or fancy food, the thought that immediately comes to mind is ‘Why is our life so boring?’ Studies state that teens who visit social-networking sites every day but do not interact with their friends in real life are the most likely to agree with the statement “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.” Moreover, teens’ feelings of loneliness pierced through in 2013 and have maintained since.
Losing time by using your smartphone may not sound so worrying. But what if there was a way to calculate how many years you have lost due to screen time consumption? Try out plano’s Time Machine to find out how much of your life has been lost to smartphone usage.

Smartphone intrusion is real

To have your smartphone with you is a wise choice when a friend calls or you have to reply urgently to an email. However, many of us use our phones wherever we go. What was supposed to be a private space, such as our bedroom, is now violated by our smartphones. 

The bedroom is not the only place which has been intruded by smartphones. Smartphone use is increasingly spilling into bathrooms! The 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits found 12 percent use their devices in the shower. Moreover, more than 50 percent accepted they still text while driving, despite the fact that this is six times more dangerous than drinking and driving.

In addition to the pervasive use of smartphones in our lives, it has also led to something called separation anxiety disorder. This actually refers to an extreme feeling of longing that a child experiences when separated from their mother. Nowadays, this term also alludes to the same extreme feeling one experiences when away from their phones. According to a poll by SecurEnvoy, 70 percent of women have phone separation anxiety as opposed to 61 percent of men.

After all, a smartphone isn’t a part of your body – so you should let it go right?

How do we free ourselves from the excessive usage of our devices?

It is important that we acknowledge that in this growing technological day and age, smartphones are incredibly useful. The first step is to accept this fact and control our usage accordingly. 

1. Find your balance

If staying away from your smartphone for awhile is already a challenge, take it step by step. Replace your screen time with an activity, perhaps reading a book you have always wanted to. Try disabling your wifi 2 hours before you sleep for 1 week. Gradually increase the number of hours and find your balance. Once you feel like you do not think about your phone every time you wake up, you have made progress. 

2. Delete the applications that do not serve a purpose

It is important to delete applications that are taking up phone memory and keeping you distracted for no reason. Same goes for applications that end up making you feel bad rather than entertaining or connecting you to people. Doing this will clear your mind and reduce your screen time significantly. If you need an application that you fear using excessively, simply move the app to another page. It’s a simple, yet effective way to resist the temptation of opening the app the moment you unlock your phone.

Overcome smartphone addiction by adopting these practices. Control is in our hands, and we can make the right decision to spend our time wisely.

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