Modern smartphones are versatile enough to handle just about every job a standard computer can do. They have long advanced beyond being mere gadgets for phone calls and sending text messages. So it is a common experience to get addicted to your phone. But is it not wise to break free from mobile phone addiction? The tendency to get addicted to the mobile phone is nearing a pandemic situation in modern society, particularly amongst youths and students.
Because our mobile phones are practically indispensable for work, socialization and recreation, thanks to the additional empowerment of internet connection. But strictly speaking, it is not healthy to be enslaved by your famous mobile companion. An abnormally high level of mobile phone addiction has been linked to stagnated social relationships, and poorer productivity in other areas of life.
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How Bad is Mobile Phone Addiction?
A recent report by the Tech Jury website on smartphone addiction is quite revealing. Typical mobile phone users were found to access their mobile devices on an average of 150 times a day. Outside using your smartphone for work purposes (email management, customer service, research and office tasks), much of that browsing time is wasted. You can put most of the blame on seeking social interactions on the internet. All that time could have been committed to other more productive activities.
To break free from mobile phone addiction is a more critical recommendation for students and young people. Recent studies have shown how excessive mobile phone usage badly affects the academic performance of students.
Mobile Phone Addiction: Students and Young People are at a Higher Risk
Back home in Nigeria, Andrew Obi, a researcher at University of Benin carried out a recent study on mobile phone usage. His findings pointed out that beyond progressively poorer performance of students at academics, there were other serious consequences.
Mobile phone addiction was fingered as a prime culprit in dwindling physical and psychosocial health of students. It has led to severely reduced face-to-face social interactions, sleeping problems, blurred vision, neck stiffness, back and wrist pains.
Another study was conducted by Benedette Ejie, a researcher at Lagos State University. She discovered that the majority of students of Nigerian universities are addicted to their mobile phones, varying from moderate to extreme addiction. This is as a result of students’ dependency on their mobile phones for practically every known task phones can handle.
Additionally, mobile service providers and smartphone manufacturers have targeted students and young people in recent years. The frenzy to satisfy this unique group of people went quite far indeed. Phone manufacturers and mobile operators began to offer more high-end but low-cost phones and cheap communication services to attract students and youths.
It has however led to increased patronage of telecommunication services, and an exaggerated use of mobile devices. This situation has fuelled mobile phone addiction to nearly insane levels.
Tips You can Follow to Break Free from Mobile Phone Addiction
We recommend that you follow the tips below to break free from mobile phone addiction, and improve the quality of your life and well-being. You should not be a slave to technology. After all, technology was designed to serve man, and not the other way round.
Put Your Mobile Phone Out of Sight
Learn to put your mobile phone in a safe, easy-to-remember place. But not within your quick reach while you work or rest – unless it is necessary. You can even put your mobile phone on silent mode to reduce distractions. For instance, resist the urge to charge your mobile phone in your bedroom (close to your bed) while you can. This will reduce reaching out for the phone on impulse when you wake up, or at any random time. It will also stop your smartphone from becoming a major hindrance to having quality sleep, or a decent interaction with loved ones.
Track Your Mobile Phone Usage and Reduce it
You can observe and record how many times per hour you reach out for your mobile phone. Then consciously reduce the frequency. You can also use apps that track your mobile phone usage (e.g. QualityTime and Checky) to create a reduced phone usage routine.
You can even go a step further by going on a phone holiday. Go camping or fishing, play indoor or outdoor games, or indulge in a nice hobby. Just ensure you put your phone away (or switch it off). To reinforce it, ensure you inform your friends, associates and loved ones that you wish to stay off your mobile phone for a while.
You may additionally inform them of the times you are available to communicate with them. It particularly works on social media as well, not just with texting or phone calls.
Designate Times When You Should Use your Mobile Phone (and Stick to It)
Decide which times of the day you wish to go phone-free. It could be an hour or two in the mornings, and the same around evening time. You may even set an alarm or reminder on your phone to that effect. To replace the aimless scrolling through your mobile phone, choose to do other more productive activities during that period. It could be exercise, household chores, meeting with loved ones face-to-face, reading a book, or even meditating and/or praying.
Reward Yourself for Spending Less Time on Your Mobile Phone
Give yourself a reward (whether small or big) for staying off your phone. And do it periodically. This is called positive self-reinforcement. You teach your mind to consciously stay away from a healthy habit by looking forward to a reward for your discipline. For instance, get yourself a good, decent meal during phone-free periods (or any other convenient time). Or get yourself some other physical gifts, or quality rest.
Turn Off Intrusive Notifications and Apps
Help yourself by switching off those frequent notifications you get from email, social media, and websites you visit. It will even conserve the amount of internet data you burn regularly. Also train yourself to visit your favorite social media apps less often. Don’t forget to pay attention to those intrusive apps that distract you too often with notifications and messages. Unless they are very useful, decide if you need to put them away and delete such apps as soon as possible.
Practice Mindfulness – Focus on The Here and Now
Rather than indulging in your mobile phone, pay more attention to the activities happening within and around you at the moment. Especially things that engage your attention in a positive way.
Get busy – Do More Useful or Fun Activities
You can indulge in other activities that spice up your day, rather than resorting to your mobile phone. Get active at your favorite hobby or practice a craft. It would be a good time to write a book, cook, draw, sing, play instruments, knit, sew, handle household chores and the like. Doing such mind-building and constructive activities can help you to consciously avoid indulging in your smartphone.