Smartphone Addiction: Are You Addicted?
A Daily Need
Twenty years ago it would have been shocking to see people refusing to interact in person because the phone was more important. However, today Smartphones have become an extension of the human body for many. It is rare to meet someone without access to a Smartphone in most developed countries. Smartphones literally put a world of information, good, bad, and pointless at your fingertips. Additionally, Smartphones allow users to communicate instantly, play games, listen to music, and connect with those thousands of miles away. Smartphones definitely have their place and usefulness in the world. But when the Smartphone becomes a necessary part of your daily life, or feeling like you are lost without it, then a problem exists.
Are You Addicted?
Smartphone addiction, just as other addictions means you have a need to engage with the item, or substance, at all times. Consider it this way, have you ever left home without your Smartphone and began to panic? Have you ever avoided interacting with those you know and love to spend time using your phone in some manner? Perhaps you have attended a social gathering, and instead of talking to someone in person, used your phone to connect? This could point to a Smartphone addiction for many.
Some people cannot go any length of time without using their Smartphone. It can make them feel anxious, disconnected, alone, and possibly lost. They may feel disconnected from family, friends, and an online identity if unable to connect for even a few hours. This signifies a possible addiction. Remember, addiction is defined as a need to interact or use a substance, thing, or engage in an activity regardless of the negative consequences. Continually using a Smartphone in spite of the lack of real social interaction or avoiding work, school, or other activities to spend time on your phone is a significant indicator of addiction.
While a Smartphone, tablet, or computer can be a highly productive and useful tool, compulsive use can interfere with school, relationships, and even work over time. With increased use addictions and compulsions with virtual relationships, information overload, cybersex, and other online compulsion can also become problematic. This is true for the same reasons drugs and alcohol can become addictive. This means that you may need treatment to break the Smartphone addiction.
Humans are meant to be social and taking part in face to face interaction can help control a need to interact online. You will need to build healthy coping skills instead of retreating to the online world. It’s important to recognize Smartphone use as a compulsive behavior that is completed without real thought. You may need to create a step by step plan to meet these goals.
To break free of your Smartphone addiction you may need to seek professional help. Your Smartphone is literally within reach at all times. This means you may disregard things that need to be completed to spend more time with your phone. A professional can help you recognize your triggers when it comes to Smartphone use. If you reach for your phone when you are lonely, bored, depressed, stress, and angry then these conditions need to find another outlet. You will also need to understand the difference in interacting in person and online.
Start by setting goals for your phone use. Such as fifteen minutes of phone time after all work is completed. Learn to turn off your phone certain times of the day, while at work or during dinner with the family is a great start. Replace phone use with healthier activities and limit the number of times you check it throughout the day. These paired with other professional suggestions can help you break the habit and get back to real life.
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