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How to break cell phone addiction

Young Women
 89% of people who reached for their phones did so unprompted (Photo: Shutterstock)

Smartphones have made life easier and more interesting. With the millions of apps available at our fingertips, it’s become easier to stay in touch with friends, study, work and find different forms of entertainment. 

On the flip side, more and more people are becoming victims of phone addiction. We’re becoming so dependent on our phones that when we can’t find our phones we feel disoriented, even lost.

Phone addiction also affects short-term memory, reduces your quality of sleep, affects the quality of conversations and relationships and affects your mental health.

A study by the London School of Economics found that 89% of people who reached for their phones did so unprompted while 11% responded to alerts. The study compared the automatic response to how a smoker lights a cigarette. It revealed that users felt the urge to interact with their phone almost automatically, like a smoker reaches for a cigarette.

If you’re wondering how to reduce your dependence on your phone and subsequently spend less time on it, read on.

1. Pick one day a week

Choose one day, a weekend or your day off, when you set your phone aside. Turn off your internet and if possible, you can turn the phone completely off. This will help reduce any feelings of dependence on your phone and force you to turn to other activities as a source of entertainment.

 Avoid having your phone in your bedroom while you sleep (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Avoid charging your phone in the bedroom

It’s very easy to reach for your phone when you can’t fall asleep at night or spend endless hours scrolling instead of sleeping on time. To reduce chances of this, charge your phone outside of your bedroom. If you need an alarm, invest in a clock. 

Keeping your phone out of the bedroom will help you sleep better and improve intimacy and communication between partners.

3. Change phone settings

Inasmuch as smartphones help you keep in touch at all times, this can have a detrimental effect on your ability to concentrate on tasks.

Changing your phone settings will reduce the temptation to constantly reach for your phone. 

Start by turning off notifications, muting group chats, remove distracting apps from your home screen and making use of the Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode features.

 Keep your phone away when spending time with family and friends (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Put your phone away

Out of sight, out of mind. It’s easy to forget about your phone when it’s not within your line of sight. 

When you get home, put your phone in a cabinet or drawer and pick it the following morning on your way to work. 

If you’re out meeting friends, place it in your bag or pocket (and on mute) so you don’t keep reaching for it when there’s a lull in the conversation.

5. Use appropriate apps

Even though apps may play a part in increasing your phone addiction, you can use them to limit how much time you spend on your device.

These apps can help track your usage so that you can identify your habits giving you an idea on where to begin in remedying your addiction to your phone. They can also lock distracting apps so as to boost your productivity. You’ll also be able to set usage limits.

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