Like most people, you probably have a love/hate relationship with your smartphone. You feel like you can’t leave the house without it, and may suffer a minor panic attack when your battery is low and a charger is nowhere to be found. If you just can’t seem to break the bond between yourself and your device, you aren’t alone. Handheld technology in the form of smartphones and tablets is everywhere—you’d be crazy not to own at least one of these devices—which is why it may not come as much of a surprise that health and social issues related to smartphone use are an increasing concern. So is it possible to use this type of tech responsibly without acting like an addict when you aren’t able to respond to a text right away or check for news updates every 10 minutes? This article will take a closer look at common smartphone behaviors and strategies to break free from these patterns – so you can use technology as a tool, rather than becoming a slave to it.
Bad Habits in Smartphone Use
If you think that smartphone addiction is only a problem among young people, think again. About 56% of adults admit to checking their phones while driving, which indicates that many adults feel that they simply cannot wait to respond to messages or social updates. These habits are passed along to kids and teens, who spend up to 9 hours daily using social media and other smartphone apps. These behaviors can cause conflict at home and reduce healthy social interactions, which, ironically, are really what smartphone addicted teens are after. A big component of smartphone use is connecting to others either through social networking apps or direct messaging. Unfortunately, there is something left to be desired with this impersonal connectivity, which may be part of the reason it’s so addictive. The problem of smartphone addiction is actually so widespread that Germany has outfitted pedestrian walkways with special lights to alert people not to walk into traffic when they are staring at their phones.
Common Technology Stressors
A constant need to respond to smartphone alerts is a huge source of stress, as it can actually lead to legitimate anxiety issues. What’s more is that smartphones can be a source of physical stress as well. Keeping your head down to look at the screen of your phone can contribute to back and neck pain as well as eye strain, which can become more serious problems later on. In general, technology can make you lazier. Having a device that tells you everything you may need to know and allows you to place orders at the push of a button can stop you from actually going out into the world and enjoying the scenery around you.
Smarter Smartphone Habits
You don’t need to abandon your phone and other devices completely to restore your mental and physical health, but it is helpful to turn these devices off for designated periods of time. You might start with just an hour or two each week, but having time to unplug can help you legitimately relax and break the need to stay tethered to your phone. It’s also beneficial to focus on the positives of technology. For example, your smartphone can allow you to see a doctor from the comfort of home, track your steps throughout the day, or track what you eat to help you stay healthier. Just remember, when you start to feel too dependent on your phone, it’s time to put it down, go outside, and forget about your phone for a while.