I’m don’t think I am alone when it comes to feeling the irresistible pull of a smartphone. And it would seem that more and more of us are wondering if we are actually addicted to our pocket sized computers with searches for “phone addiction” rising steadily in the past five years, according to Google Trends, and “social media addiction” searches trailing it closely.
We check our phones as soon as we wake up. We rely on our phones to keep us entertained while we wait for anybody, anywhere at any time.
And I don’t know about your household, but in ours … iPhones or iPads are in use everywhere!
I often hear YouTube or Instagram videos blaring out of the loo when my partner is in there, and would you believe he actually watches videos on his phone while he’s watching Netflix or Stan on the big TV! He uses his phone when he has his coffee in the morning and when he sits down to eat lunch and dinner. And I know he’s not alone.
All you have to do is go out to dinner and have a look around. It’s highly unlikely you will see the majority of people engaged in coversation and looking at each other. Quite the opposite actually! People’s faces are usually stuck in their phones, or photographing their food and then uploading to social media. Food shots are so very important, right?
People are using their phones first thing in the morning before they even get out of bed, while using public transport, and now with waterproof cases, we can use them in the swimming pool, bath and shower!
In Australia, on average, how often do we spend on our phones each day? The question should probably be “how long do we spend not on our phone?”
A study from Huawei, in partnership with Decibel Research, conducted a study into how Aussies use their phones. The study found that the average Australian spends 2.5 hours per day on their phones. This might not sound like much – but that works out to be a massive 38 days a year!
A survey done in 2016 showed that Australians are spending about 10 hours a day on internet connected devices. It also sadly showed that almost a quarter of the 1500 people surveyed said they spent more time on their smartphone than they did talking to their partner or friends.
Did you know that many of the people who created these devices are trying to break their addiction, and many who have kids are banning them from having them altogether?
I believe that using mobile phones/iPads/devices is probably the worst non-drug addiction we see around us, and not
among young kids. Many adults and even the elderly have embraced their devices with such enthusiasm and have no desire to let go!
Recently we took my daughter’s phone and iPad off her as she was using it so much, and we couldn’t keep tabs on what she was doing.
What happened to my beautiful 12 year old daughter when she realised her devices were being replaced by a Nokia touch phone? All the symptoms of an addict being told ‘no more’. Nastiness, tears, attitude, and what appeared to be genuine pain.
There was a study done in the US a while ago which had young people give up their phones. The findings were that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in “withdrawal,” and felt physiological symptoms, like increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also felt a sense of loss, or lessening, of their extended self—their phones.
I believe that the problem is that kids are spending more and more time, not talking on the phone like we used to (does anyone remeber those 3-way phonecalls?!) but Instagram-ing, snapchat-ing and private messaging. These are dangerous pastimes because they give the appearance of social interaction, but they couldn’t be further away from it.There’s also a much darker side which I won’t get into now.
It’s been a week now since we’ve taken my daughter’s iPhone and iPad. I’ve bought her some great books which she has happily started to read. She loves reading and it makes me smile when she asks if she can read for ‘just a few more minutes’ when she’s lying in bed at night.
This is a far cry to what was happening just a few weeks ago when I’d walk in to her room! She’d quickly roll over and pretend she wasn’t looking at her phone, often pretending she couldn’t find it when I’d ask for it to take it out of her bedroom for the night. She used to read a lot before her iPhone took over, and I’m happy to see this love of books slowly coming back into her life.
She now has her radio instead of Apple Music. And she’s becoming more interactive with me rather than staying in her room. When I ask her what’s she’s doing, I’ll get a variety of answers now and not just ‘Nothing’, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Watching YouTube’.
She is happily helping me in the kitchen and has started her mindful colouring again.
She actually just walked into me just now and said ‘Hey Mum, do you know what they’re talking about on the radio? Exactly what you’re writing about! Mobile phone addiction.’
So many of her friends are addicted to their phones and on them far too much. When we took the phone from her, we would see instagram notifications and text messages flashing up on her screen right into the early hours of the morning. It’s no wonder our kids are struggling at school!
It’s been hard and horrible and I know she’s not over it yet. She will be using her friends devices whenever she can, and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. We’ve deleted most of her social media accounts so she is unable to log in anywhere else.
We are taking the steps to help break her addiction and give her the life that a 12 year old should have.
We know that the problem of smartphone addiction isn’t just with our kids. Many of us as adults are guilty as well.
Take some time to think about your relationship with your device. Are you missing out on what could be some wonderful opportunities because your face is buried in your phone?
Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning and get drawn in, wasting what precious little time you have before you start the day instead of hugging your loved ones or simply setting your intention, practising mindfulness and doing a few yoga stretches?
Obsessively checking your phone will more than likely result in a serious decline in productivity. 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there … have you added up how much of your life is spent on your device?
I’m sure you’d be shocked.
Of course our phones make life much easier and save us time. We can do our banking, use the GPS, Skype, edit photos and videos and perform a whole host of other activities that previously required a separate gadget and much more time.
But we need to think about. Really think about it. Are you addicted? Are you wasting your precious time?
Why not download an app that can tell you exactly how much time you are spending on your device?
‘Moment’ seems to be pretty effective at scaring the daylights out of you by being so very effective. Try it and see if your time could be spent doing other more productive things.
What are your experiences with addiction to the internet or your smartphone? I’d love to hear your stories 🙂