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Are you addicted to your smartphone?

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Image: Macworld UK

With over 90% of adults owning a mobile phone and goodness knows how many children, mobile phones could be considered the must-have accessory of the decade.  It is not surprising we find ourselves continually picking them up, after all, they do so much more than make calls and text people.  We can shop, get information, book things, chat with friends, well the list is actually pretty endless.  There’s an app for that has become the phrase of the year, but is your mobile use healthy or are you actually addicted to your phone?

Mobile Phone Addiction is Real

You may laugh but for some people, there is a genuine feeling of anxiety if they reach for their phone and it is not there.  If like me you lived your childhood BM (before mobiles) you will know that you do not implode if you are out without a device in your hand, but yet you might actually be one of the people that feel stressed if you accidentally leave your phone at home.  In 2017 a survey was carried out that involved self-confession and 38% of the 4000 plus adults surveyed in the UK confessed they used their phones too much. If we accept that not everyone is aware they have an overuse addiction, then we could be looking at half the adult population in the UK alone, with other countries not far behind.

Social Detachment

One of the most significant issues is that mobile phone addiction causes genuine problems. Families no longer interact over the dinner table, but all sit with mobile in hand tapping away (#guilty). This can lead to children feeling isolated and unsupported by parents and in children, unless monitored by parents, can lead to sleep deprivation and problems concentrating in school.

Mobiles Offer a Crutch

When people with mobile phone addictions spend time talking about the problem, in many cases, it becomes evident that the phone was used as a crutch to help with issues like anxiety and insomnia. However, without care, this can spiral and become the problem.  If everyone in the house except you is asleep the mobile is an excellent company.  Whether you read, play games or listen to music you instantly feel less alone and stop focusing solely on your problem.  If used well this is not always a bad thing, but we have to guard against support turning into reliance.

Test Yourself

To see if you have a potential addiction issue you can quickly test yourself.  Can you cope with turning your phone off overnight?  Can you leave it in another room?  How often do you feel compelled to check on your social networks?  If you find the evidence a little concerning then start to self-treat. Turn off notifications as these can become distracting.  Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock – get a real clock.  Then try leaving the phone downstairs or turned off while you sleep. Impose a technology ban and gather your family to eat together, by actually talking to each other you will find yourself feeling more supported and less alone. 

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