LET ME BEGIN WITH AN INTERESTING STUDY DONE WHERE TEENAGERS were given a choice: You can either break your phone or break a bone in your body. Want to know the response?
Amazingly a total of 46% of the participants preferred a broken bone to a broken phone. If this was not enough, the people who said they’d prefer a broken phone did not make a snap decision. They took time and thought for a while and then made the decision. The stress was clear in their face.
One logician even said, “At least when I’m recovering from the broken bone, I will have the phone to comfort me.” Pretty humorous!
What will you call this if not an addiction? This really is an addiction.
When we talk about addiction, the first thing that comes to our mind are drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. But that is in the personal life. But in digital life, behavioural and experiential addiction is more prevalent and the biggest culprit is the pocket-friendly smartphone.
Ask a few people this question- Can you reach your phone without moving your feet? The answer will be yes. Because they literally wear these devices. They’re in their back or front pockets. I hope, you are not nodding your head.
There is an official name for smartphone addiction called ‘Nomophobia’– having a fear of not being with your phone.
Some Interesting Statistics.
According to Google, 95 percent of Android phone users pick up their phone every six minutes and receive a notification every seven minutes.
Another study says an average smartphone user checks their device some 47 times a day which means 17,155 a year.
The average time spent on phone screens is a mind-boggling 171 minutes a day and the average user tap or swipe their phone some 2617 times a day. There are similar countless studies done.
A ‘common sense media report’ of 2016 found that 50 percent of teens “feel addicted” to mobile devices, while 59 percent of parents believe that their kids are addicted to their devices.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 Pandemic seems to have accelerated this attachment. A UK-based Phone company EE in May 2020 found that, after lockdown, the usage of apps like Whatsapp and Zoom went up by 45%.
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For some, the numbers would feel bloated, for others underrated. Numbers aside, but there is truth to the reality of excessive use of digital screens.
So, what can we do to keep our smartphone use to a minimum and avoid phone addiction?
For all those who are wishing to find some tips and tricks to cut down digital time, let me help you with 16 powerful ideas which I have used myself and learned from others. On a lighter note – believe me, these ideas themselves are addictive.
Welcome to Part 1 of three-part blog series that looks at some simple yet powerful psychological ways to minimize smartphone usage and break the addiction.
Let’s dive into it!
- Control the Notification Menace.
The notification pop-up is quite like the temptation of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, too hard to resist. So, when we talk about smartphone addiction, what we’re talking about is the addiction to the notification. They are just waiting to get a response, whether it’s emails or social media platforms. Notifications are a big source of distraction. It’s quite hard not to tap on an app icon when you see that red on it.
So, managing your push notifications is one of the first things you need to do and the quickest way to limit your phone addiction. By turning off and disabling all app notifications, you make them less potent and take control of how much you look at your smartphone.
Understand this- social media companies want you to spend as much time as possible because it fit into their business models. It is their business and that’s how they make money. So, don’t expect them to put barriers on notifications. In fact, many companies have full-time behavioral psychologists to find ways to get you hooked.
Self-imposition is the only way. Blaming will not help.
“Who’s in charge—cigarette, or me?” —Grandpa Steve
Don’t outsource self-control.
Just head straight to Settings – Notifications to control your choices and preferences.
Remove push notifications and make sure that your smartphone isn’t telling you when to pick it up, but you’re deciding it’s time for you to pick it up.
Now don’t want to turn the notification off completely?
There are some alternatives! Play with your phone settings. Let’s see what they are?
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- Play with your Phone settings.
The first alternative is to turn your phone off completely for specific blocks of time. Sound extreme and impossible!
Then use the second alternative which is to turn on the airplane mode. This mode cuts off all your network connection and the effect are similar to shutting down your phone. The only saving grace is that turning this mode on takes less time than getting your phone switch back on.
If this too is not possible, then try this alternative – Use the ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ mode. To set some phone-free periods, take advantage of the DND mode. It lets you choose a certain period of set time in the day when all notifications can flow in, but won’t produce any sound or vibration. Depending on models, you can opt to have your favorite number to go through anyway, so you don’t miss out on important alerts. You can locate it in the Settings app on both iOS and Android, where the DND mode normally appears under the ‘Sound & vibration’ heading.
Another easy option is to put your phone on silent mode. Though notifications will appear but won’t bother and distract you as much. Not easy! Isn’t it?
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- Change Your Phone Screen to Grayscale.
The equation is simple- the more the attraction and appeal, the more the addiction. The colourful screen of smartphones with rainbow colour apps makes it quite attractive. So, if you need to cut down the addiction, make your phone screen less attractive. How to do it?
Well, enable grayscale on your phone.
Grayscale mode is the latest feature in Android and iOS phones. It turns your screen into black and white.
Believe me, it works!
Scientific research reveals that colors are attached to emotions and feelings. Smartphones are less appealing and attractive when they look like an old television.
It will make your phone drab and boring thus making your phone less distractive. Though it may not cure the addiction, but certainly social media apps look less appealing in black and white and this will capture your focus and attention less. The bright and shiny distraction will fade and the urge to view new notifications reduces significantly.
One bonus of using this feature is to save the life of the phone battery. And the icing on the cake is that maybe you’ll stop playing games on your phone.
The process of enabling the grayscale feature differs for different models.
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In “Part 2”, I’ll keep revealing and sharing some more amazing and powerful ways to beat smartphone addiction.
Don’t miss reading the next part, “16 Powerful Psychological Ways to Break Your Mobile Phone Addiction (Part 2). Some mind-blowing ideas to cut down your phone usage are awaiting you.