You want to know how to get rid of smartphone addiction without beating yourself? Have you asked yourself what your relationship with your phone is? Do you think you are spending too much time with it?
According to Statista, there are over four(4) billion internet users in the world. And a large percentage of these users are barely five feet away from their mobile devices. For this reason, smartphones as a technological tool affects the lives of billions of internet users. You talk of their health, wellbeing, and relationship with others.
In this article, we will look at:
What is Smartphone Addiction
Causes of Smartphone Addiction
Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction
How to Get Rid of Smartphone Addiction
What is Smartphone addiction?
Park and Lee (2012) define smartphone addiction as the excessive use of smartphones in a way that is difficult to control and extending to other areas of life in a negative way.
Over the past decades, the phrase smartphone addiction has gained attention. Even in the sight of Google, as the number of people searching for it keeps going up.
But some medical experts do not think “addiction” isn’t a better or an official term to describe excessive phone usage by a person. Instead, they would use language like overuse of smartphone, cell phone or mobile phone overuse.
In any case, the fact remains that smartphone addiction, like other behavioral addictions such as alcohol and drug addiction, builds up little by little. It gives a sense of reward by allowing a boost in dopamine, making them want to have some more. And then, loss of control sets in— at this stage, the individual cannot do without them— their phones; in the case of smartphone addiction.
Little wonder, the American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuiting.
Causes of Smartphone Addiction
There might be no specific cause of smartphone addiction, but it is usually a pointer to underlying mental challenges such as anxiety, loneliness, stress, or depression.
That said, people use their smartphones for different purposes. But when these purposes get abused, addiction creeps in. Hence, below are some of the reasons that might make people addicted to their smartphones:
True, smartphone overuse is prevalent amongst the younger generation, who spend an immense amount of time surfing the internet and social media with their mobile phones.
Many teenagers and youths in colleges and universities use their smartphones and social media to ease the pressure arising from an academic setting. There is a high expectation from their parents and teachers (or lecturers), coupled with the intense competition among students.
In this age, a smartphone can be the surest asset that grants one access to unimaginable kinds of information available on the internet. Thus, many use facilities like social media on the net to communicate with their peers and families who are far away. And most times, with total strangers from other parts of the world.
Loneliness is a mental state that usually explains most of the maladjusted behaviors of both young and mature adults. And it has a deep root in an individual, springing up when one has not paid attention to matters relating to self-esteem, purpose, and life goals.
In essence, loneliness explains why many get addicted to social media and the use of their mobiles. They use it to get attention from others online, which they couldn’t get through physical and social connections with people around them.
Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction
In learning how to get rid of smartphone addiction or manage its tendencies, one must first know the symptoms that show up when one is gradually overusing his smartphone.
Thus, below are signs you will observe when you are beginning to overuse your mobile phones to your detriment:
Loss of control
Loss of control is a common sign of mobile phone addiction. One loses control over the use of his smartphone. And even when he decides that he will stay off his mobile phone for a while for other meaningful activities, he relapses into reaching out to it in the next couple of minutes.
Fear of missing out
The fear of missing out is another symptom that anyone gradually slipping into smartphone addiction displays. There is an anxious feeling of missing out on intriguing stuff online, such as news, celebrity buzz, gist, etc., whenever they are away from their phone. And especially when they are disconnected from the internet and social media.
Increased level of loneliness and depression
As said earlier on, smartphones can be assets to thousands of people. But also, they have become the reason billions experience an increased level of loneliness and depression in their lives. That is because they have made their smartphones their best allies and inadvertently trying to substitute online connections with real-life connections with people.
And also, in an attempt to solve their internal problems or challenges such as loneliness and depression through life on social media—though establishing online relationships—in the process, they become more depressed and lonely.
That is because, on several occasions, many people fall into the temptation of comparing their lives with others based on the vast information they are seeing and relating with online.
Inability to focus on tasks either at home or work
Without a doubt, many people use smartphones as a tool that helps in executing a lot of productive tasks. But when a person becomes unable to focus on the tasks at home or work because of indiscriminate use of smartphones, that could be a symptom of smartphone addiction.
You will agree that so many youngsters find it difficult to concentrate on their schoolwork. And you observe when they are studying or doing their assignment, they find it hard to focus because of the inability to use their smartphones appropriately.
And in the long run, that leads to failure or a decline in academic performance. Likewise, the same thing applies to workers at their different workplaces and individual stations.
Difficulty concentrating or thinking creatively
How can a person concentrate on a particular engagement that requires creative thinking when one is trying to reach his phone? To check the messages to attend to on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms.
The truth is that the chances are that such a person will find it hard to engage in creative thinking because of distractions—coming from the usage of his phone.
Disinterest in a meaningful relationship with others
While it is nice to connect with people online, it is not the best substitute for physical relationships with people. Unfortunately, preferring staying with your phone over being genuinely interested in building physical relationships with others in our world could be a sign of smartphone addiction.
Complaints from close people in your circle
You might have heard, a thousand times, the saying that you should care less about the opinions people have about you. Yes, that may be correct, but not in all cases.
Remember, one of the best ways to get honest feedback about your character and personality is from family and close friends. Though it may be hard to welcome some of this feedback, taking note of them with discretion will do you good.
Hence, if you keep getting complaints from this category of people being worried about your phone usage—that you spend a lot of time with it—that could be a sign of becoming addicted to your phone.
Smartphone addiction is not just a behavioral addiction; it affects different aspects of your life, including your resting time. In other words, smartphone overuse can disturb your sleep.
Therefore, when you see yourself waking up at intervals at night only to pick up your phone to start checking for things without purpose or a predetermined goal in your heart, that could be a sign of smartphone addiction.
But, it is not enough to identify a problem or a potential threat without knowing the solution or way out. Hence below are practical ways to get rid of smartphone addiction before it causes damage to one.
How to Get Rid of Smartphone Addiction Today
#1. Know the difference between online interaction and real-life interactions
This knowledge is a springboard in your quest to know how to get rid of smartphone addiction. But in our world today, many people have not been unable to distill the practical difference between online connections and real-life relationships. But to understand this is a step in the right direction in getting rid of the tendency of overusing mobile phones or smartphone addiction.
Hence, this knowledge will first make you know that you cannot replace physical relationships with online relationships.
And then, it will make you invest and stay committed to building solid relationships with others in your world, including your family members and friends in your neighborhood, at school, or work.
#2. Delete the program causing the addiction
Social media is not why many people spend a tremendous amount on their phones that they barely smash most of their goals on their to-do list. The reason is that for some people, it is games—both offline and online games. Individuals in this category spend hours playing games and only at bedtime realize that they did not make the most of their day.
That said, deleting and uninstalling your smartphone may help curb smartphone addiction or overusing your phone at the expense of your growth, daily goals, and life goals in the long run. However, note that it is not a one-off tactic that will remedy mobile phone addiction.
Because it is one thing for a person to delete or uninstall the applications making you spend an excessive amount of time on and with your phone. And it is another thing to go back and reinstall the deleted mobile application(s). In any case, it offers you help to get rid of smartphone addiction.
#3. Do things that are positive and fulfilling without your phone
Yes, do what you love. But the question is: what other things or activities can you do without your phones? What are your self-fulfilling pastimes (off your phone) that you enjoy doing?
Your pastime could be reading, going to the pool to swim, traveling, or communicating interesting topics with close friends. At least, all these are far better than gossiping around. But for someone else, it could also be writing, listening to songs, exercising, or meditating with yoga, amongst others.
All these can help you get rid of smartphone addiction or the attachment you have created with your phone. perhaps the past three(3) weeks, two months down the line, or as the case may be.
#4. Set your phone usage time
Now do not forget, the goal is not to make you stay off your phone forever. But to establish control over how you use it and not to get rid of any smartphone addictions or the negative impact cell phones may have on a person.
Therefore, setting a certain time during the day when you are at liberty to use your phone is practical if you want to manage smartphone overuse and its addictive tendencies. Setting a specific time for your phone usage and following such a plan will help you focus on your goals. And not your mobile phones.
For example, a woman cooking in the kitchen, should know that is not the best time to be pressing phones. However, there was a story of a lady who almost lost her life because of this.
She had a meal on fire in the kitchen. But she was carried away by the apparent enjoyment she was having with her phone. Thus took her smartphone into the kitchen close to the gas, and unfortunately, there was a blast. And before she knew what happened, she was in a hospital with scarred skins on a sickbed, feeling excruciating pain.
Likewise, someone driving should also know he needs to focus—and not be distracted by his phone—so as not to cause an accident on the way. Again, set your phone usage time.
#5. Ask for help from friends and specialist
There are individuals in your life who are hard to replace. And they are those who love you the way you are—and of course, want the best for you. Therefore, when you observe those symptoms of smartphone addiction outlined above in your life, you should ask for help from these people.
But these people must have control over their phone usage and should know how to get rid of smartphone addiction. Or better still, you can meet a professional to help you.
#6. Determine other ways to entertain yourself
Last but not least is determining other ways to entertain yourself. From different studies, people, especially young folks, get glued to their mobile phones to get entertainment. Who does not love entertainment? Nobody, you would say.
That is the reason it is good for you to know yourself. In other words, you should know those indoor and outdoor activities that you can engage in with the assurance that you will get entertained. For some fellows, it is playing football or watching a soccer match. And for others, it is playing scrabbles or the game of chess with a family member or a friend.
We have established that smartphone addiction can influence a person’s health, social life, and achievements in a negative way. Be it academic, financial, or even marital. But then, living without a smartphone in this present age can be an unimaginably terrible experience. Thus, the point is to strike a balance and get the best out of everything without abuse. By applying the few tips in this article on how one can get rid of smartphone addiction.
Meanwhile, you might want to go through this smartphone addiction test.
What do you think are the psychological effects of cell phone addiction?
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Kim, J-H. (2021). Factors Associated with Smartphone Addiction Tendency in Korean Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, 18, 11668. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111668
Park, N., & Lee, H. (2012). Social Implications of Smartphone Use: Korean College Students’ Smartphone Use and Psychological Well-Being. Cyber psychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(9), 491e497. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2011.0580.
Sahin G., Filiz K. Mumcu, Tülin H., Yasemin D. C. (2016). Modeling Smartphone Addiction: The Role of Smartphone Usage, Self-Regulation, General Self-Efficacy, and Cyberloafing in University Students. Computers in Human Behavior 63 (2016) 639-649)