Renegotiating the Relationship: You and Your Phone
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Do you love your smartphone? Don’t laugh. You probably do. Most of us do.
On the flip side, there may be times that you loathe it. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar:
You feel a sense of panic when you can’t find your phone
Areas without cell service turn you into an anxious mess
When your battery gets low, you race to your charger to avoid any interruption in your online access
You can’t resist checking if you were “liked,” “friended” or got a reply to a text you sent five seconds ago—and then you refresh and check again
If you’re feeling a little too dependent on your phone—or suspect your phone is having a negative effect on the way you feel or how you deal with others—these frequently asked questions about phone addiction may open your eyes to a very real problem (hint: your phone) that may literally be staring you in the face.
Is phone addiction a real thing?
Yes. Constant, undisciplined phone use can negatively affect mental, social, developmental and physical well-being and can cause symptoms similar to other forms of addiction. Before clicking a button or sending another emoji, ask yourself—is this really the best use of my time?
What are the symptoms of phone addiction?
The symptoms may include irritability and anger, restlessness, sleep issues, lack of concentration and uncontrollable desire to check your phone. If you’re feeling any of these, that shiny rectangle in your pocket may be to blame.
Who is most susceptible to phone addiction?
If you guessed teens, you’re absolutely right. Because teen brains are still developing, they are less able to recognize when they're becoming addicted. If you have a teen, why not talk to them about phone usage, social media and related issues, and ask them to read these questions, too? Then make a plan so you can help each other reduce your phone usage.
How can being dependent on your phone cause problems in your life?
While “disappearing” into the online world of your phone may seem like shelter from the outside world, this type of comfort can actually make the boredom, depression and loneliness you are experiencing worse. Make a choice to live in the real world, not the digital one.
Are there ways that I can determine if my phone use is problematic?
If you’re finding that you’re preoccupied with cellphone use during other activities, if you turn to your phone for shelter from unwanted feelings or your sense of time is completely altered, your cellphone usage may be becoming a problem.
What can I do to make my phone usage healthier?
The good news is, you’re still in control. So, make a choice to regain control and vow not to be addicted to your phone. Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction: Put your phone away or turn it off during mealtimes. Install apps that limit your usage or give you reminders to turn off your phone. Don’t keep your phone in your bedroom, so it’s easier to sleep. Everyone is different, so identify your weak areas and build new habits that keep you away from your phone more often.