The topic of the day is phone addiction – how very 21st century. Phone addiction is the obsessive use of a smartphone, and it is common now, as mobile phones are extremely common unlike they were previously. In fact, it’s no surprise that phones are addictive, as they are purposely designed keep users engaged through colours, sounds and vibrations, so that they are difficult to put down. Therefore, if you’re feeling guilty after spending hours upon hours on TikTok instead of doing your academic work: you’re not the only one. However, there is a point where you should be concerned about phone addictions, so let’s talk about this.
How do you know if you are addicted to your phone? Firstly, if you are experiencing an addition, you may fill every possible moment of the day on your phone, losing hours without realising it. You may also check your phone constantly and feel unable to stop even when you want to. You might also feel lonely or agitated when you are without your phone for a certain amount of time. Furthermore, you may neglect your roles and responsibilities to spend more time on your phone, and your relationships might suffer as your time with friends and family is spent on your phone instead of connecting with them. You might also be experiencing phone addiction if you are experiencing symptoms such as lying about your smartphone use, accident or injury due to phone use or constantly getting up at night to check your phone. You might also want to consider if you have an addiction if people you know are expressing concern about your phone use or if you find yourself feeling angry when your phone use is interrupted. You may also experience phantom vibrations, which is when you think that you hear the phone buzzing when it doesn’t.
Phone addiction can have quite serious consequences. For example, it can cause sleep deficit, decreased concentration, creativity blocks, anxiety, stress, and reduced cognition. It can also cause loneliness, insecurity, and impaired relationships because being addicted to your phone will often result in social isolation and difficulty in making and maintaining connections with others. It can cause psychological disorders, blurred vision due to all the time spent looking at the screen and it can negatively impact grades which isn’t what you need at university! So all of that isn’t very fun.
However, there are some ways to break a phone addiction. The first method sounds rather counterproductive but stick with me – make sure that you make time for scrolling on your phone. A lot of phone addiction and overuse is due to the mindlessness of scrolling on your phone, so to combat this you can try to scroll mindfully. This means setting times each day where you look at your phone and really focus on it, but outside of this set time you must do other things. You should also switch off your phone notifications. This is because phones cause the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is associated with most addictions, through sounds and banners which indicate that someone has messaged you. This makes you want to read the message and therefore look at your phone to satisfy your curiosity, thus feeding into the phone addiction. Finally, you should try to physically separate yourself from your phone, by having the phone in a different room to you so that going to check it takes effort. This discourages you from constantly getting up to check the phone.
So that’s phone addiction summed up. If you think you have an issue with it, try the methods above, but you can also talk to someone you trust about it if you feel it’s affecting your day to day life. Wishing you good health for the next academic week, until next time.