Do you own a mobile phone or Smartphone? Of course you do. In fact, you are probably reading this blog on your Smartphone or tablet right now. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 70 percent of people in the U.S. have a Smartphone. Check out the Pew Research Center site here to read more about these statistics.
Some people have become so dependent on their Smartphones, they experience significant distress when they are forced to go without one. This has even led some researchers to give these feelings a name: “nomophobia,” a portmanteau of the phrase “no mobile phone phobia.”
It may sound strange and even a little silly, but studies suggest nomophobia is quite real. Sufferers have been identified based on a variety of criteria, including:
People who experience feelings of genuine panic when they can’t locate their phone
Smartphone owners who never part from their phones, including during sleep and bathroom trips
People who use their phones during meals and other social events
Individuals who pick up their phone first thing in the morning before even stepping out of bed and make it the last thing they check before going to sleep
These individuals are so addicted to their mobile devices, they have difficulty ignoring them – even when they are doing something that demands their full senses, such as driving a motor vehicle or crossing a pedestrian walkway on foot. Walk into any restaurant, and you are likely to see people glancing down at phones rather than interacting with each other. Some wedding photographers have even started asking wedding guests to leave their Smartphones at home.
Still not convinced? Consider the following statistics from a Pew Research survey:
70 percent of people surveyed admit they check their smartphones as soon as they wake up
51 percent say they check their phones constantly even while vacationing
56 percent of survey respondents say they check their phone within one hour of going to sleep at night
Experts also say that, much like any other addiction, excessive Smartphone use breeds more use and, ultimately, abuse. The more time you spend on your phone, the likelier you are to pick it up again and again.
Because mobile devices are handheld and easily transported, Smartphone users have constant access to them, making it fast and easy to get a “fix” any time they want – and the numbers show many people simply can’t help themselves.
“Breaking Up” with Your Phone
If you think you may be too dependent on your Smartphone, it is important to start setting boundaries with yourself when it comes to time spent on the phone. Experts say doing so can have a startling impact on your mental and emotional health.
Researchers also say that changing your habits can help you resist the urge to pick up the phone in the car or during other activities. You can curb your addiction by doing the following:
Set designated “phone times” during which you are allowed to check your phone. This can be once every 30 minutes or some other reasonable increment of time
Silence your phone when it is not in active use
Avoid taking your phone to bed
Turn off your phone completely when you drive; if you are a passenger, consider silencing your phone and waiting until the car has stopped to check it
Try a phone “detox” by avoiding your phone altogether for one day or even over an entire weekend
By spending a little less time with your Smartphone, you may be surprised to discover time for other things in your life. Disconnecting from constant emails and notifications can be a great way to minimize stress and help you focus on important tasks.
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