Nomophobia is the fear of being without your phone for any period of time. I am a proud Millennial, but I’m also, not-so-proudly, on my phone more than I probably should be. In fact, most people in this generation are addicted to their cell phone to some extent. In a study by King University, about 50% of young people admit to having some level of cell phone addiction. Cell phone addiction is becoming an epidemic, but because more than half the population is engaged, it isn’t addressed as effectively as it should be. Extended cell phone use leads to decreased memory capabilities, lack of focus, and a number of other psychological issues directly linked to this over-stimulation. How can we put a stop to cell phone addiction? Here are a few helpful tips to kick start your journey to recovery.
Keep Your Phone Out of Reach
- As long as your phone is in reach, the temptation to pick it up and check it will also be there. It seems like there is always something new to check or a new reason to pick up your phone; especially when you’re able to see your screen light up to tempt you. If you carry a purse, keep it in an inconvenient pocket where it’s a chore to get to. If not, then avoid holding it in your hand when you aren’t using it. If you’re stationary, you can put it out of reach on a table face down, in another room, or on another surface away from you.
Replace the Habit
- As with any addiction, it is extremely difficult to quit using your phone cold-turkey. One of the most effective ways to avoid using your phone so often is to replace it with something else when you have the urge to pick it up. For example, you can carry a book around and pick it up to read a few pages instead of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. Or, if you’re at home, you can push yourself to get up and start creating a healthier habit like doing something physical instead. You could do a few pushups or clean. This is more difficult to train yourself to do because it’s not always all that fun, and it can be too different to be a replacement for your original habit. Everyone is unique and has unique needs. Figure out what works for you!
Turn Off Your Notifications
- Most of the time, we pick up our phones when they light up. The most obvious solution is to make sure your phone doesn’t light up. Turn off as many notifications as you can. Keep on only the essentials (Instagram and Snapchat are not essential). Silence unimportant group chats. Turn off notifications for social media and any game centers or other time-wasting apps. This alone could help decrease your usage.
Keep Your Phone Away From Your Bed
- 80% of smartphone users admitted to checking their phone within the hour before going to bed, and 90% sleep with their phones. It should go without saying that it isn’t healthy for your smartphone to be the last thing you see before falling asleep. This only furthers the cycle of addiction. It can also be effective to get a traditional alarm clock other than your phone, to further separate necessity of your device. Relying on your smartphone as little as possible can be an invaluable tool in resisting addiction.
Download Usage Apps
- There are several apps on the market now to keep you aware of your screen time, and to help you manage the apps you most frequently use. Some of these apps include Offtime, Moment, Breakfree, Flipd. They will tell you how much time you’re spending on your phone in general, and in which areas you can improve. The guilt alone could help you cut back, and you can set usage goals to reach overtime.
Turn on Grayscale
- Smartphones are designed to be pretty, and fun to look at. What better way to beat a habit than to make it unappealing and boring? Turning on your phone’s grayscale can really throw off the sensory fulfillment you feel when unlocking your phone. You aren’t as tempted by the colorful playground that used to entice you to check your phone.
Create a Schedule for Phone Use
- Another way to cut down phone time is to literally limit the times you allow yourself to use it. Sticking to your schedule can be a foolproof way to avoid your phone. Give yourself certain hours a day when you’re not allowed to use it for anything other than necessities, such as work-related emails or text notifications you find important. Turn off all other notifications, and look at them later, in a time you’ve allotted for yourself. The time you’re not using your phone should be used productively to keep your mind off of it. Exercise. Meet with friends. Work. Do anything other than surf mindlessly.
Cell phone addiction should be treated like any other addiction, and it’s important to be aware of this growing trend in our society. Hopefully, some of these tips will be useful for you or someone you know struggling with this epidemic.