They never leave us, cost us always more and are always less resistant. They hurt our joints, prevent us from sleeping and are constantly interrupting our discussions with our friends. No, I’m not talking about our children, I’m talking about smartphones ! This article explains you the risks linked to their excessive use and suggests tips to take back control on your phone and use it in a healthy way.
Smartphone, what risks ?
Yes, I started this article with a little too much drama and we shouldn’t demonize our smartphones either. We have to admit that they’re really useful in numerous situations and that’s precisely why we’re so prone to become addicted to them. A study from the firm Nokia showed that a person looked her smartphone every 6 minutes 30 on average in a 16-hour wake cycle. Here are a few risks of a too frequent use of your smartphone for your physical and mental health :
- Searchers found higher anxiety and depression levels in people with smartphone overuse.
- It has been shown that constant use of smartphone interfered with work/school, reduced real-life social interactions and could create relational problems.
How to prevent smartphone overuse ?
A first step is to « diagnose » how you use your smartphone:
- When do you check it ?
- In which situations ? Which places ?
- Why ?
- Which emotion do you feel when you check it ? Or when you’re not able to check it ?
It can also be useful to measure how many times a day you check your smartphone as well as how much time you actually spend on it. You can do it by downloading « digital detox » apps on your phone (I used the app BreakFree, but there’s plenty of others available). This app will allow you to have an idea of how you use your smartphone. Measure it for a week, no need to do it longer.
How to reduce smartphone use
If you decide to reduce your smartphone use after having « diagnosed » it, here are a few tips to succeed :
- During the day, ask yourself when and why your smartphone will be useful. If you’re at home, you have a lot of things to do and don’t want to add any other activity to your schedule, put your smartphone in another room and don’t check it. If you’re at work or spending time with friends, without waiting for an important call, don’t check it. Every time you’ll be tempted to check your phone, ask yourself : « am I going to miss something important if I don’t check it now ? » If the answer is « no », don’t check it.
- Turn off all the « push » notifications of your social media apps. It will prevent you from receiving a message every 2 minutes announcing you informations that don’t interest you most of the time.
- Put all the social media apps on the « second page » of your smartphone screen. This way, you won’t be confronted to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram apps displaying the number of unseen notifications as soon as you unblock your phone.
Personally, I checked constantly my smartphone because I was afraid of missing an invitation from a friend or an important information, even if I knew I wasn’t available for anything that day. Now, if I’m not available for something else, I don’t check it. If I’d like to receive an invitation from a friend, I take my phone and send a text myself to propose something to him. When I’m working or spending time with somebody, I focus entirely on him and let my smartphone aside. Try it ! You can’t imagine how good it feels !