We live in an amazing day and age. Humans have advanced technology to an unbelievable level and at an unbelievable rate. We have cell phones that let us speak to relatives around the world. They provide access to an infinite amount of information right at our fingertips. They let us talk to our friends whenever we want, see their faces whenever we want. We are wholly dependent on these machines for many everyday activities; they make things easier and more efficient. While cell phones have plenty of pros, they also have lots of cons. No matter where you go, you’re bound to see people with their head buried in their phone. We have become detached, and in lots of cases, addicted. In this article, I’ll be discussing smartphones and their possible downsides. I’ll share a time I went two weeks without mine, how it’s possible to become addicted to your phone, and some tips for those who think they may be addicted.
My Smartphone Addiction Self-Detox
A few years ago, I took a trip to Ecuador and then the Amazon Rainforest. It was absolutely fantastic, of course, but I couldn’t use my cell phone. I didn’t have coverage or data there, and so I was forced to be without it for 15 days. Now if the trip hadn’t been as cool, it might not have mattered. But I was STILL feeling some side effects from being without it. I would hesitate to check it, even as it was stashed away in my bag. I would pull it out. I thought about taking pictures with it. A lot of things entered my mind that I would regularly act on. This told me that I was really using my phone too much.
I’m sure that we all have an experience or two like this. Maybe going away to camp, getting our phones were taken away when we were younger, or even something much simpler. Ever check your phone in your pocket, only to realize it’s not there? That onset of panic and anxiety is something to think about.
Process Addiction is Still Addiction
Even if you don’t know it, addiction comes in many different forms. People are addicted to a plethora of different things and smartphones are definitely one of them. A process addiction is an addiction to a rewarding behavior that may not necessarily be tied to drugs. For example, many suffer from sex or gambling addictions.
There are lots of reasons we become addicted to smartphones. One is due to our extended self. American psychologist William James defined the self as “the sum total of all that a man can call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house, his wife and children.”
Our brain also releases dopamine and oxytocin, feelings that cause highs, when we use it. We get likes on social media, talk to friends, and we get to portray ourselves a little differently on the Internet. Phones also just have it all. Why we get addicted to smartphones is almost self-explanatory. It’s a camera, music playing device, telephone, computer, and much more all in the palm of your hand. Once you realize you’re addicted and you want to find out how you can curve your usage, it’s time you learn some tips on how to overcome smartphone addiction.
Overcoming Your Own Smartphone Addiction
Okay, you get it. You constantly check and use your phone and you realize you might be addicted. Don’t worry! There are lots of ways you can fight addiction, and I’ll share just a few of the best ways to overcome addiction.
My first tip is set a schedule. If you have discipline, this might be the best way. Set an alarm every 15, 30, maybe even 45 minutes, and only check it when the alarm goes off. Another tip I have employed is to just get rid of a lot of apps and turn off push notifications. I deleted my Snapchat after considering if the time I spend on it is really not worth what I get out of it.
Charging your phone away from your bed is a tactic my roommate uses to make sure his phone isn’t the first and last thing he sees every day. This is a wonderful thing to do, because the phone screen can also be a hazard to your eyesight when you’re going to sleep or waking up. Another thing one of my friends started to do is turn the phone on grayscale. Imaging staring at grey and black all day. That’s sure to keep you off your phone more!
By now, you should know that smartphone addiction is real and it affects lots of us. Maybe you have seen a few of the characteristics I have pointed out in this article, in yourself. If so, and you want to do something about it, try using some of the tips I wrote! They will work. If that doesn’t work, ironically enough, there are online addiction support groups. Lots of other people just like you are fighting and battling addiction, and you don’t have to be alone. Good luck!