Did you know…
… that the term that describes the fear of being left without a mobile is called Nomophobia. It is an abbreviation for “no mobile phone phobia”.
How long has it been before you touched your phone? Do you feel restless or have a tingling sensation in your palms when you are not using your smartphone? Do you carry your smartphone everywhere, including the bathroom? Do you check if the screen has lit up every five seconds, irrespective of whether you are having a conversation with your family, in a supermarket, or in bed? Do you have to check and respond to every notification or call? Do you refuse to
switch off your phone or charge it more than once in a day?
If the answer to most of these questions is in the affirmative, then you might be suffering from smartphone addiction. Smartphones like iPhones, Blackberrys and Android phones are the new must-haves for most adults and youngsters.
A research done by the Pew Research Center has shown that, in 2012, around 46% of all American adults owned a smartphone as compared to 25% adults in 2011. Most of these users are smartphone addicts who are constantly hooked to the fascinating piece of technology in their hands
Is Smartphone Addiction Ruling Your Life?
Owning a smartphone that helps you stay connected on social network and makes your work easier is great. But, when technology starts ruling your life, then things can be a little problematic. For most addicts, smartphones are like extensions of themselves. They check their phones after waking up, before going to bed, when on a vacation and on weekends.
The need to check updates for news, social media connections and emails can be crippling, especially if a person is tuning out their family and friends to do so. When they are unable to do the above, there is stress and anxiety. Here are some signs that smartphone addiction could be stressing you out more than you realize.
Feel the Need to Carry it Everywhere
If you break out into a cold sweat and get anxious every time you find you have forgotten your phone or do not find it in your hand, then you can safely say that smartphone addiction stress has hit you. Studies done by a software company Apigee has shown that a lot of smartphone addicts are unable to do basic things like wake up in the morning, maintain relationships, navigate to work, find dates or even feel happy without using their smartphone.
You Need to Answer the Phone
Are unanswered calls and texts making you restless? Whether you are in the bathroom or sitting with a hot date across you, you constantly think about answering the phone or responding to text messages. This might be a cause for concern. The compulsive need to check your smartphone for social media or email updates not only adds stress, but also ruins your relationship with family and friends.
You Get Depressed without Calls
You stare at the screen waiting for a call, an email or likes for your photos on Facebook. When the screen fails to blink, depression sets in, stress levels increase and you start snapping at people around you. Sounds familiar? Well, this is what smartphone addiction stress can do to you.
“Did the Phone Just Ring?”
If you are a smartphone addict, then chances are that you may also be suffering from phantom vibration syndrome. The phantom ring is a term used to describe the feeling or sensation of your phone ringing when actually, it is not. Researchers who studied this audio illusion phenomenon have termed it as “ringxiety.” The participants for the research were people who used their phone extensively, and sent a lot of text messages. The vast exposure of smartphones in their lives may have led to a “psycho-acoustic phenomenon.” This is related to the way the human brain interprets sound. Since our ears are attuned to certain frequencies especially in the range of 1000 to 6000 Hz, we become conditioned to hearing those sounds.
Family and Friends Take a Backseat
How many times have you seen people on dates or on a vacation surfing their smartphone rather than talking to the other person? While there is nothing wrong with answering urgent text messages or calls, but if it becomes a regular feature then you are sure to damage your relationships. Research by Ofcom, a telecommunications regulator in the UK, has shown that around 51% adults and 65% teenagers use smartphones for socializing with others.
Sustaining social connections and friendships just adds to the stress. Moreover, when conversing with tweets or texts all the time, you lose the ability to converse with people. So your conversations are sprinkled with a lot of WTF and OMG and not to forget LOL (which is sometimes used as a verb like “I was lolling with joy).
Social Media Stress Disorder
It may not have been classified as a psychological disorder in any medical journal, but ask any parent or spouse of a smartphone addict and you will know exactly what it is. Updating and browsing numerous social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr takes a major chunk of your time, and contributes to a lot of stress.
If you are not doing it then you have this intense fear of missing out on something important. When you are on it, you are busy comparing your life with others, venting your feelings or sharing just about everything just to get a few likes. These panic-attack inducing social media activities do nothing other than raise your stress levels.
You are Failing in Real Life
Sitting in a really boring meeting, you have this urge to grab your smartphone to check a few updates, download a new app or just play a very addictive game. Before you know it, you may have missed out on all the important information that may have been shared. Smartphone addicts have a problem in focusing on events in real life, leading to poor performance in school and work.
Fighting Smartphone Addiction Stress
So, what do you do to avoid stress? Of course, throwing your phone in the bin (sorry for the mini heart attack) may not be a really good idea, considering the price you paid for it. Instead, try these simple tips to switch off and take a break from your smartphone.
✔ Recognize the addiction (The most difficult part, since every addict underestimates the time spent on the phone)
✔ Turn off the phone for half an hour everyday.
✔ If you can’t turn it off, leave it at home for an hour or two.
✔ Talk more and text less.
✔ Challenge yourself to resist checking your phone for updates for at least an hour.
✔ Keep the phone out of the bedroom or family room.
✔ Think before you share pictures or private details on social media.
✔ On an evening out or during family time, keep your phone on silent mode, or better switch it off.
✔ If you are sitting close to a person then instead of texting, go up and talk to them face to face.
Getting over your smartphone addiction and reducing the subsequent stress is as simple as it sounds. The bright screen, the hundreds of apps and not to forget the endless stream of social media information is more addictive than you think it is. Understanding how it can adversely affect our work, our social and family life, and taking appropriate steps with necessary discipline can help in curbing the addiction.