Smartphones are one of the most popular devices in the world. An average person uses the smartphone for 162 minutes per day, with phone usage at 15.79 hours per week. An average American can spend up to 5.4 hours on the phone.
A smartphone has become a vital accessory in the modern world, and it is used for so many things and is relied upon for many things. You can use your smartphone as your assistant, navigator, and your entertainment source.
Some smartphone users, manage to regulate the time they spend on the phone. They can manage to go through some of their responsibilities without checking their smartphone and not have a hankering for it. However, there is another group of people who are addicted to screen time. They spend so much time on their phones and in effect, fail to spend quality time with their friends and family.
Who is at risk of getting addicted to their phones?
Everyone who has a smartphone and uses it is at risk of getting addicted. The usage of any application can lead to addiction. Be it sending and receiving emails, playing games, or socializing on social media platforms, a smartphone has applications that attract a user to spend so much screen time on it. However, adolescents are the age group most likely to get addicted to their phones than any other.
A suspected reason would be that teens go through behavioral challenges. Because they do not have and do not practice self-control, they end up spending so much time on their phones. So much so, that it has been found that 27% of teens never turn their phone off, not even during sleep time.
Apart from teens, introverts and those who have low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety can also get addicted to their phones quite easily. The list also includes those who haven’t mastered impulse and self-control.
Symptoms of addiction
You might think it’s normal, you’re just getting attached to your phone that’s all. It might not look like a big deal but it is. So if you ever have the following signs and symptoms, you are getting addicted and it’s time to slow your roll.
- If your phone is getting in the way of your familiar routines, tasks, and chores
- If you keep losing the sense of time due to distractions by the phone
- Failing to connect with your friends and family during the time you spend together i.e. dinner time, vacations, hangouts
- If you feel anxious when your phone isn’t in your proximity or when you cannot get service
- When your phone has put your career or relationships in danger.
- When you keep failing to limit your phone usage
- When you have started experiencing health issues like eyes problems or neck strains
- When you feel withdrawn from the physical world and start distancing yourself from things you used to find exciting, from your family and your friends.
Effects of phone addiction
The main issue is while you are glued to your phone screen, the world is passing you by. You miss out on having quality time with your family and friends. More of these effects are below.
Poor sleep: Using your phone before sleep has been known to cause restless sleep afterward. You may end up using your phone for longer than you expected, resulting in low-quality sleep and other cases, insomnia.
Poor class performance: If your child has a phone and uses it quite often, on matters that are unrelated to education, that might bring about a decline in their school performance.
Mental health issues: Adolescents who are addicted to their smartphones have been known to have low emotional stability and can be chronically stressed. It was proven by research that phone addiction can cause depression and anxiety.
Phone Addiction can cause accidents
Public campaign awareness and common sense will tell you not to use phones while driving, but you will do it anyway. It has become a normal thing to pick up the phone and make a call or respond to a text while driving. This is called distracted driving, and it is dangerous as it can lead to accidents that can lead to loss of life.
If you use your phone while walking, you get distracted that you can’t see where you are going and in some cases, you can end up walking into something that will endanger your life. Accidents that can happen when you are glued to your phone are:
- Cuts, impalements, electric shocks, burns, getting trapped in various places
- Slipping and falling from heights, bumps, and collisions with other people and vehicles
Five ways using a phone can cause car accidents
- As a driver, you have to know that using a smartphone while driving is a punishable offense. In 2013, distracted driving caused 424,000 injuries and 3,154 deaths. A study has shown that 660,000 drivers reach for their phones in the middle of driving on any given day. Very shocking and the worst part is that the numbers keep rising.
When you drive and text at the same time, your eyes will not be focused on the road, they will be on the message you are trying to send. If your phone chimes and you pick It up, your eyes will stray and focus on the distraction.
- If you are on the phone, you’ll have to give it your concentration and so you cannot monitor your surroundings or pay attention to detail.
- Your reactions will be lower than what they should be if you’re on the phone. If there is a need for a split-second decision, you’ll fail to make it and will end up in a position you didn’t ask for, in an accident.
- If your driving with one hand, as the other will be holding your phone, you will not have full control of the vehicle.
- There is a high possibility of you veering out of your lane to others and hitting something if your brain and eyes aren’t concentrating on the road
Tips on how to avoid phone addiction
If you have ways of avoiding phone addiction then you won’t likely be in an accident that could take your life or of others.
- Find hobbies that will not involve your phone. You need to be spending time away from it
- Change your phone settings to be receiving few notifications and will not hook you to your phone
- Remove the applications that are the reason why you spend so much time on your phone
- Set data limits and track your data usage