Yep. Smartphone addiction. Maybe you’re addicted, or perhaps you know someone who is. You probably already know the symptoms –
• Feeling anxious whenever you do not have your phone in your physical possession.
• Constantly checking the phone for new texts, coupled with the compulsion to respond immediately.
• Did you feel that? Your phone just vibrated, and you felt it. Yet looking at the phone, you realize it’s a false alarm. Phantom cellphone vibration syndrome is real, and it’s a symptom of addiction.
• You’re not listening. In fact, you have no idea what the person in front of you is talking about. Why? Because you keep checking your Facebook page, tweets and texts.
• Running to the store for 30 minutes and halfway there you realize you forgot your phone and you MUST turn around to get it.
Melissa: As I look through the symptoms taken from the Psychology Today article linked above, I have more than a few. If I forget my phone at home it makes me feel anxious and like I am going to miss out on something or that someone will need to get a hold of me. I rely on my phone for so much: Navigation, information (I google everything), to take photos, texting, constantly chatting on messenger and compulsively checking Facebook for new notifications. I can definitely relate to the constantly checking and not listening when people (primarily Kyle) are talking to me.
In the past week, I’ve been more aware of technology use in myself and those around me. Seeing people at a concert we went to glued to their phones and taking a video of every single song rather than just enjoying the music in the moment. Watching checkout lines at Sprouts full of people checking their phones while they wait a couple minutes for their turn at the register.
Kyle: Searching images related to phone addiction showed different teens to 30-somethings with a phone shoved in their face. A phone conversation with my Mom proved it is only a stereotype – phone addiction is widespread (or in this case age-spread).
“But what if there is an emergency? What if I’m in the hospital on my death bed?” she asked.
What did people do before cell phones? They waited because rarely is there an emergency that would require an immediate response. The second statement my mom asked…well I would hope that one-in-a-million-chance scenario never happens I do know that if she were to pass before I got the chance to say goodbye that I spent a lifetime showing and telling her that I love her and she was the best mom.
I am so fixated on being present for everyone that I can’t be present at home. Around the people I am actually PRESENT with! I can’t sit and play with my daughter without jumping up each time my phone has an alert or call. My phone is my most frequent dinner companion – and it has to stop.
Addictions have affected my life from smoking to alcohol to gambling. One thing all addiction has in common is it takes one’s focus away from the truly important things.
The phone doesn’t need to go away. It does add value to my life. But the way I use my phone needs some adjustment.
It needs to be MINIMIZED!
Our Experiment of the month
We’ve decided to put down our phones, try to live in the moment and cut down the senseless hours of being sucked down the social media wormhole for all the reasons mentioned above and more.
We are allowed to be on our phones for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. That way we can respond to calls or emails.
Otherwise, they are silenced and sitting somewhere unused. Notifications have been turned off and we can only use them during the day for legitimate reasons like navigating to an unknown place or checking a recipe on pinterest. No more mindless scrolling and evenings spent connected to our phone barely acknowledging the other’s existence.