Do you have a phone addiction? Over 50% of young people say they are addicted to their phones. When you walk down the street and watch other people, it is surprising how many people are looking at their phones. Social media, surfing, YouTube, emails, texts etc are all enticing us to check our phones on a regular basis and to make sure we are not missing out on anything.
In Titus 2:12 we read:
In Corinthians 6:12 we read that all things are permissible but I will not be mastered by anything.
We we can choose to do anything, but need to decide what is beneficial for our lives. If it is not, it is important to choose to get rid of the thing we are doing no matter how painful this process it is.
Have a look at the following short video:
The purpose of this blog is to help you identify if you are addicted, what phone addiction causes and what you can do about it. For all of us, we need our phones, but require help to use them in a way that is helpful, not harmful to our lives.
1. Are You Addicted?
I did not think I was addicted until I started becoming aware of how many times I was checking my phone every day. It really surprised me. The following test will show you if you are really addicted to your phone. Go to https://virtual-addiction.com/smartphone-compulsion-test/.
2. What Phone Use Can To You.
After looking at what phone addiction was doing to my life and the effect it was having on me I was quite surprised. Here are some ways phone addiction could be affecting you:-
Creating bad social habits. Phubbing is when you are checking texts while speaking to someone. This is actually bad manners and is more common than we would like to admit.
Make you hooked to social media apps. Social media apps are designed or engineered to use your brain chemistry to cause you to become addicted to your phone.
Make you think something might be waiting for you on your phone all the time. Psychologists cal this irresistible feeling of unpredictability intermittent rewards. Mobile phones act in the same way slot machines work.. we are constantly checking the phone for rewards that make us feel good.
Alter our brains. When we read digital media we use short bursts of attention as we scroll, click etc. The effects of these short attention bursts are long term and are actually changing our brains so we are unable to stay focused for long periods. This is called "an intensely focused state of distraction".
Cause us to buy or access products we do not need. Free apps actually advertise products, and repeated exposure causes us to want to have these products. There is nothing free in this world. We pay for it in some way.
3. What You Can Do About Your Phone Addiction.
Today is a fantastic day to start dealing with your addiction to your phone and starting afresh. You can learn to live with your phone AND have a productive and healthy life. All it takes is some accountability, support and a desire to change. Most importantly, seek God on strength and wisdom on how to break these habits and the phone addiction.
Turn off all or most of your notifications - This will stop distracting you and causing you to look at your phone every time it makes a noise. This included "push" notifications.
Start the first 30 minutes of your day not checking your phone and creating a good start to your day. Pray, read the Bible, exercise and have time eating breakfast before checking your phone.
Setting alarms for when you check your phone. You can start with a 15 minute alarm and gradually make it longer so you can check it less often. eg: every 1-2 hours for example might be a good target.
Have no-phone time zones. Have times where you are not distracted by your phone by not having it near you, turning it off or using an app to stop you using it for periods of time.
Turn off all screens at 7pm so you can sleep well at night. Watching screens before bed actually can stop you from getting a decent sleep.
Take distracting apps off your home screen. This will stop you accessing these quickly. Keep the ones you want to use constantly on your front screen. You can even delete apps such as Twitter and Facebook and only use the web browser.
Kick your phone out of your bedroom. Do not charge your phone in your bedroom or sleep with your phone in your room. This will stop you being woken by someone texting you in the night. Even turn your phone off every night.
Turn your screen to grey scale. This will stop the phone being so attractive and you will not want to look at the screen as much.
Install an app to monitor your phone use or stop you using your phone at certain times. I have installed both Quality Time (http://www.qualitytimeapp.com/) and Forest (https://www.forestapp.cc/en/). I have loved the idea of not being able to check my phone because I would kill the tree I am trying to grow. For more information on Forest go to https://qz.com/1112713/urb-tech-dependence-with-an-app-that-plants-trees-as-a-reward/.
Get real with people. Do not use your phone when talking with people or especially answer phone calls when in a conversation with someone. The person in front of you should have your full attention, and answering a call in the middle of a conversation is bad manners. You can call them back.
Continually monitor your behaviour. Re-enforce your goals and why you are doing this daily and celebrate your achievements.
Jordan Taylor has struggled with phone addiction and has a YouTube video on the changes in his life since he has started getting up at 5am and living a life free of phone addiction. It is encouraging to see that someone else has done this and how it has changed his life!
I got up at 4.30am to write this blog before a busy day at work.... I started my day doing something I love doing and this really gets my day started very positively.
Explore Health: https://www.health.com/anxiety/cell-phone-addiction
CNBC - These simple steps will help you stop checking your phone so much: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/how-to-curb-you-smartphone-addiction-in-2018.html
WikiHow - https://www.wikihow.com/Beat-an-Addiction-to-Cell-Phones
The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/27/mobile-phone-addiction-apps-break-the-habit-take-back-control
Lifehack - https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/addicted-your-mobile-phone-5-ways-beat-your-phone-addiction.html