The mobile phone is, for most of us, part of our daily lives and is gaining in popularity. Especially, the number of smartphones is on the rise. With a smartphone, you are always reachable and you have access to all kinds of apps, sites and social networks.
The problem is that people nowadays are more and more dependent on their mobile phone. One of the reasons for this is the ”Fear to miss out”. This may result in compulsive checking for status updates and messages, for fear of missing an opportunity. Although telephone addiction is not yet included in the manual for the Classification of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it does show similarities with classic addictions. In this article we will discuss characteristics as well as some tips to help getting your phone use under control.
There is no clear definition of phone addiction. However, there are a number of characteristics and symptoms resulting from phone dependence.
Addicts feel restless if they don’t have their phone in the neighborhood. Many people don’t have any attention left for other things, because the person is busy with WhatsApp, Facebook, or by scrolling down Instagram. This is often at the expense of performance at work or school. School performance, in particular, seem to suffer because, just as with classic addictions, the younger target group is vulnerable to the addictive properties. An example of this is that many students do not pay attention to the lesson, because they using their mobile phone. In addition, research shows that sleep problems, stress, fearful feelings and in a light form even depressive feelings, are all related to smartphone dependence, Hacker, 2011; Chen, 2004(Augner; Jenaro et al., 2007).
Tips for controlling your phone use
Because most of the people have a smartphone and also used regularly, it can’t harm to have more control on your phone use.
Awareness: It sounds contradictory that apps can help, but there are a number of apps called screen time trackers that show how often and how long you every day your apps. This way you can determine which apps you use too much.
Push Notifications: ” 3 new messages on facebook’, reinforces the tendency to check Facebook again. Put these notifications off, so you become less tempted to check your phone.
Off Time: In the article ‘’Virtual sleeping’’ we discussed what the effects are of blue/screen light on your sleeping pattern. To improve this, it may help to turn off your mobile before sleeping and not to use it after you just woke up. Plan in Off Time” where your phone is turned off for a certain amount of time. For example, leave your phone at home when you go grocery shopping or put all the mobile phones on a pile when you are having a drink with friends. This way there is also more attention for each other instead of everyone staring at his or her phone.
NiceDay: Use the app to plan in reminders for mobile off time. Use this off time for a fun alternative activity!