If you have been to our stress class recently you have probably heard me use myself as an example of how we all should unplug more and step away from the screen. I talk about having to use a computer for the majority of my day at work as a Chiropractic Assistant, then after my shift is over I grab my cell phone to see what I have missed. I check for text messages and missed calls. I check my email and even though I have taken Facebook off my phone due to the constant checking at every red light, I still hop on Instagram and scroll through the pictures. When I get home I make dinner and to keep my 5 year old out from under my feet in the kitchen I let her “play” Google on my phone (she seriously thinks this is a game, like Candy Crush!) or get on her educational Leap Pad and play her Hello Kitty counting game. After dinner and some family time I want to unwind by watching a little television. During the commercials I continue to check my email just in case something came through since 5:00. I’ve got some problems.
Hello, My name is Shaunna and I am addicted to my phone.
If we really did have meetings for cell phone addictions-they would be packed wall to wall because I am not the only one constantly reaching for my phone. A 2016 study showed that in America, 77% of the population owned smart phones. Of that group, 67% admitted to checking their cell phone even if it didn’t vibrate or alarm them of a new message or call.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions it was reported that female college students spent an average of 10 hours a day on their phones, while male students reported 8 hours. They also reported that 60% of the study participants thought they were addicted to their cell phones.
How do we stop this crazy addiction? Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids-And How We Break The Trance, suggests a complete detox to truly break your screen time habit. This includes a full detox from all technology, including phones, tablets, computers and television. For some this would work but for anyone who uses technology for work it is a bit unrealistic.
We use cell phones to stay connected socially and professionally and you can absolutely still do that while breaking yourself of your cell phone habit. Give yourself 30 days and delete all those “social” apps off of your phone. Get rid of the Facebook, your Twitter and Instagram. Take off your Candy Crush and Words With Friends. Eliminate all of those distractions. Choose a time in the morning and in the evening to check your email. You know you don’t have to respond to each email immediately right? Pick up the phone and call your mother. Call your friend to make a dinner date. Stop using text messaging and make REAL connections.
Do this for 30 days. You will find yourself picking up your phone to check it in the first week but after that you will be surprised to find that you aren’t really missing out anything. You might even find that you feel more energized, that you sleep better, have less anxiety and are making true connections with your friends and family.
If you have little ones at home and they have picked up on your technology habit-have them do the challenge with you! Read together, get out in nature or bake cookies instead with your extra time.
Let us know if you are taking the challenge! I would love to hear how it goes for you!