Smartphone addiction is growing at an alarming rate. If you are like me, you may have managed to avoid the habit and you will easily be able to relate to the 20 points below. You might also share it with likeminded souls and pass it on to those who may be already addicted.
1. You use your phone for emergencies and for urgent messages only.
This is how phones should be used. I was so glad I had mine when my car battery went flat the other day. A quick call to my mechanic and we had the new battery fixed in a jiffy. How many times have we been able to text friends to warn of late flights, traffic problems or other emergencies? These are the beauties of modern communication but I refuse to use it as an extra limb. People who are seriously addicted seem to have an extra limb!
2. You do not know what nomophobia means.
Of course you do not know what this phobia is about, but maybe you guessed? Yes, it stands for ‘no mobile phobia’. In one survey, 73% of the respondents said that they were almost never more than five feet away from their phone. We can thank our lucky stars that we will never have this phobia and we can go about our daily lives being normal, social creatures without having to depend on a handset.
3. You can parent your children without being attached to your phone.
You know how to give your kids quality time. You never need to be reminded to switch off when you enter your home so that you give your kids your full attention for that first half hour or so. The fact is that the kids themselves have complained about this. The Swedish government did a survey and they found that 33% of the kids felt neglected because their parents were always looking at their smartphones.
4. You know when and how to switch off.
Why should you be in touch with the office for more than 8 hours a day? The great advantage we have is that we know how to spend some really relaxing time without relying on an electronic device.
Why this addiction? You can understand the odd emergency and being on a business trip abroad. But the ‘normality’ is getting out of control. About two thirds of people with a smartphone are in touch with their offices for more than 13.5 hours a day. In addition, 40% of British managers are now clocking up a 60 hour week. You can be sure that they almost never switch off their phones.
5. You rarely suffer from insomnia.
While you would consider it absolutely normal to switch off your phone and leave it outside your bedroom, many people do not! They take their phones to bed with them, look at them, text and play games. The blue light interferes with the release of melatonin, an essential hormone to help you get some decent sleep. The next time someone complains about lack of sleep, ask them if they take their phone to bed with them!
6. You will never need to detox.
Look at what is happening in South Korea. Internet and smartphone addiction has become so bad that the science ministry has decided to intervene. Schools are now required to teach children about the dangers of these addictions. If we do nothing about it, this may become an uncomfortable reality for our own children very soon.
7. You can chat with your family and/or significant other at mealtimes.
Mealtimes are precious moments when we can reconnect with our loved ones. It is probably the only time in the day when we can get to talk to them. But when smartphone addiction takes over, kids, parents and partners are still attached to their devices and the TV may be on as well. Observe families and couples in restaurants and you will see that I am not exaggerating.
8. You never use your smartphone in the shower or when having sex.
It’s incredible how the use of smartphone has taken over people’s lives. 10% actually admit to using it in the shower or when they are having sex. A whopping 50% say they use the phone while driving. This has been called ‘driving while intexticated.’ The figures are shocking. If a person texts while driving, this is 23 times more likely to cause an accident. Murder by smartphone is no longer a joke.
9. You dream about phone-free zones.
Imagine not having to listen to people’s very loud conversations on the bus and train? You do not want to know about their problems or anxieties. Just like smoking in the cinema and on aeroplanes was banned, we can hope that certain areas will soon be phone-free and we can have a coffee in peace.
10. You will never suffer from text claw or cell phone elbow.
Because you never overuse your smartphone, you are unlikely to suffer from finger cramping or cell phone elbow. This condition is an inflammation of the tendons in the fingers caused by the continuous scrolling, texting and gaming on the phone. When your elbow is constantly bent, you may get an unpleasant numbness in the fingers.
11. You still know how to have a real conversation.
You know the feeling. Your friend is constantly interrupted by text messages or even answers a call as you try to have a real conversation with her/him. The Facebook updates, the texts, the latest news are all demanding their attention. You get extremely irritated. No wonder you feel that artificial intelligence may soon take over our lives.
12. You will never suffer from text neck.
If you are slouched over your computer, tablet or smartphone for very long periods, the rather delicate neck muscles will begin to suffer. Doctors now call this ‘text neck’. Just another price the smartphone addicts have to pay for their habit.
13. Your eyesight will remain in good shape.
Because you are using your smartphone in an intelligent manner, you will never have to worry about eyestrain. Doctors now are warning patients that dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness may be caused by excessive texting, scrolling and checking the screen for emails, Instagram updates, and tweets. People should have breaks, do some neck stretching and hold the smartphone at a distance of 16 inches. But you will never have to worry about this, thank goodness!
14. You do not suffer from checking habits.
One explanation of this smartphone addiction is that boredom induces people to check their emails and Twitter account in the hope of getting some information reward. Some estimates say that the average user checks their device about 150 times a day. Just think of all that time, effort and eyestrain involved in all that. You could remind an addict of that.
15. Your relationship is not at risk.
Imagine a smartphone addiction being responsible for a breakdown of a relationship. It is happening more and more often, according to a report in the Daily Mail. It is disruptive and can cause tension in a relationship. It might just be the symptom of deeper issues but if people switched off their phones and talked to each other, they might well be able to resolve their differences.
16. You know how to manage your time.
You have certain times of the day when you check your phone for messages and other urgent stuff. It is essential in our always-on society. But, apart from that, you know how to manage your time and profit from it. You have set times for reading, cleaning, exercise, cooking and connecting with real life friends who you can actually kiss and hug! Smartphone checking can never replace these valuable pursuits.
17. You are less likely to suffer from depression.
Psychologists have established that people addicted to smartphones are more likely to suffer from depression, emotional instability and materialism. One study found that these people were liable to be moody and were temperamental. They were also less likely to stay focused on their current task. We all have our own mental problems, tics and disorders but at least if we do not get addicted, we have a better chance of survival.
18. You have more fun.
Smartphone addicts probably think that they can all the fun, entertainment and information that they could ever possibly desire. They are paying a high price because they are wasting three hours a day checking their devices. A study by Kent State University found that students who took a photo on their smartphone of a painting at a museum were less likely to remember it. The person who simply enjoyed looking at it had a much better recall and more pleasant memory of it. This describes you and me because our smartphone is off when we visit an art gallery or museum.
19. You do not have to reply to emails straightaway.
If you are like me, then email replies can be dealt with in 24 hours as this is standard etiquette and protocol. But the smartphone addict gets worked up and feels that he or she has to reply immediately. This adds to the stress but also means that they are multi-tasking and constantly ruining their concentration.
20. You never worry about phantom cell phone syndrome.
You and I should be so grateful that we need never be anxious about the latest syndrome which is called, believe it or not, the phantom cellphone syndrome. This only happens to addicts. One study showed that up to 90% of students tested were reporting this strange sensation of having felt their cell phone vibrate when in fact it hadn’t!
Having read this list, I bet you are glad that you know how to make the best use of your smartphone without becoming a virtual zombie who has forgotten how to really live.
Let us know in the comments how you managed to stay sane and avoid smartphone addiction.