Research has it that about 60% of college students in the United States have cell phone addiction. It was also found that more than 70% of people go to bed with their smartphones nearby. More so, 35% or more people would wake up with their thoughts on their phones. This is not peculiar to the U.S alone; so many people in different parts of the world are very addicted to their cell phones.
It may appear to be very difficult to break a phone addiction, but it is very possible. In this article, you will understand what is really meant by phone addiction, its symptoms, its causes, and the negative effects when one is addicted to his or her cell phone. You will finally get to see the possible ways to minimize phone addiction, and resources to help you to break this addiction.
What Is Phone Addiction?
Mobile Phone Addiction is simply an obsession with the use of cell phones. It can also be seen as a behavioural addiction in the use of mobile phones or related mobile devices. Colloquially, it is called nomophobia, which means the fear of not being with a smartphone.
It is understood that so many people live with phone addiction; this is because phones are constant sources of research, entertainment, information, communication and lots more, and are always available whenever we want them.
We are increasingly becoming connected to the use of smartphones for so many things; the mobile phone today has become an indispensable element or tool in our lives.
No doubt, cell phones are a fundamental piece of our lives, usage, however, should be kept under control. If otherwise, mobile phone addiction can result in severe consequences, leading to so many problems in our lives.
Cell Phone Addiction Symptoms In Children
Most young children today have been exposed to mobile phones, especially smartphones from the early part of their lives. We may not necessarily prohibit them from complete use of these digital devices; in fact, there is already a huge market for these little ones.
We must accept the reality that mobile devices have come to stay and make effort to control how the children are exposed to them. If this is not checked, what at first seems to be leisure or entertainment, may end up causing the problem of smartphone addiction, since the children’s brains can also be hooked on some things, just like adults do.
If in adolescence we are concerned about addiction to social networks, we must also ensure that our young children do not have a bad relationship with the mobile phone. They are not aware that there may be a loss of control over the use of digital platforms and the Internet. It is important for parents to be aware of these symptoms of phone addiction by their children for quick intervention or prevention.
Below are some of the symptoms that alert us when a child has become addicted to mobile phones.
Spends More And More Time With Phones Than Before
While a few minutes were enough before, now the little one begins to claim more and more time and increases his frustration when we remove or turn off his mobile phone or device.
Throughout the day, children go through various moods. But when phone addiction begins to creep into a child’s life, we will begin to observe mainly two different moods: the happy mood when the child is with the phone and the sad mood, when he or she is not with the phone.
Always Requests For Phone
When a child is not with the phone, he or she asks numerous times when he or she can play with it. In fact, it is the first thing the child usually asks for whenever parents arrive home or when the parent picks up the child from school.
Since he understands that you control the time he spends with the mobile, sometimes, the child will secretly take the phone, maybe for a few minutes, or lie about the time he or she has been with the cell phone.
The child’s leisure and games will begin to be centred around the mobile phone. He or she abandons other types of toys and is bored with things order than the mobile phone.
Lunch or bedtime becomes associated with the phone. In fact, the child negotiates with parents just to use the phone, even if unconsciously. He or she may eat only if we let him/her play with the phone, sometimes the child will need to play with the phone before going to bed even.
Symptoms Of Phone Addiction For Adults
When an adult suffers from a phone addiction, his or her habitual rhythm of life is altered. This does not always affect all areas of life, but it would affect a person on a general level. It influences your work, within your inner circle or in the dynamics you have with your family, food, sleep or mood will always be affected, etc.
Some common symptoms of phone addiction are enumerated below:
- If the first thing you do when you get up and the last thing you do in bed is look at your mobile phone, that shows one of the first symptoms of phone addiction.
- If the use of cell phones has become a number one priority for you, leaving relationships with family or friends, as well as studies or work.
- You become isolated from other people and have developed behaviours that involve spending a lot of time using the cell phone.
- You are always on the phone, be it in meetings with friends, at work, at home and even in the bathroom.
- If you constantly look at the phone screen every few minutes, even if no calls are expected.
- You feel incomplete and insecure when you don’t have a phone nearby.
- You always have your mobile phone close and become stressed when you are in a place where you cannot use the phone.
- Also, if you are one of those who have to carry the phone in hand instead of in the pocket or in the bag, the symptom of phone addiction may be evident in you.
- Spending much time checking messages or social networks is also a sign of mobile phone addiction.
- When you are working, eating, or even drinking coffee while same time operating your mobile phone.
- You are continuously checking if you have messages, notifications or calls.
- If you are not able to eat without consulting the mobile phone, it is part of the symptoms of an addict. Looking at the mobile phone while eating or always having it on the dining table during meals could also be a sign of phone addiction.
- One of the most obvious symptoms of mobile phone addiction is feeling the need to use it when you are with friends or family or loved ones.
- If your mobile phones consume more battery than it was designed; a device that is used in its proper measure should not give battery problems throughout the day.
- Another clear symptom of mobile phone addiction is delaying important tasks, whether at home or at work, because of compulsive use of the phone. Whenever an activity interferes with our duties and tasks, it is time to stop and think if it is not something that is beyond our control.
If the above-mentioned sounds familiar to you, then it is possible that you might have a phone addiction. You are not alone here…and you shouldn’t worry much. This article was carefully researched and written to help people like you who are having phone addiction.
Although it is possible to experience some of the symptoms described above with a computer or a tablet, the unique thing that makes mobile phones, so addictive is the fact that we carry them about all the time.
Causes Of Phone Addiction
There are so many reasons why people become addicted to the use of cell phones. The advent of the internet and smartphones are among the major causes of phone addiction. Nowadays, the internet makes it easier and simpler for us in doing things. It is also easier and cheap to become connected to the internet anywhere using a smartphone.
Technological innovations especially with regards to the use of mobile phones are increasing day after day. There is virtually nothing that can’t be done with mobile phones today. Ecommerce, Gaming, Trading, Social networking, Surfing the Web, Payments etc. We can make good use of these new technologies via mobile phones, but there should be limits on things to be done. As in everything, the extremes are not always good.
While some of us had our first smartphones in adulthood, with this new generation things have really changed. Right from when children are born, they already begin to interact with the screens. In fact, it is not uncommon to see how children of 3 and 4 years of age perfectly handle any device with internet access.
Also, there are parents who practically give the child the mobile phone so that he can entertain himself and leave them alone. Sure, the child gets used to it, becomes naturally addicted and this becomes a fixed habit, which like all other habits, may become difficult to change, especially in adulthood.
Often, people addicted to their mobile phones also have other psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, stress, or strong feelings of loneliness. While the mobile is being used, emotions such as loneliness and boredom evaporate; but as soon as it is stopped, they return more intensively
Negative Effects Of Phone Addiction
Abuse in the use of mobile phones is associated with a series of negative effects. The first of these is the change in social relationships, losing interest in physical relationships and paying more attention to relationships maintained through mobile applications.
In addition, excessive use of the mobile phone can lead to life-threatening situations: Like driving while paying attention to our smartphones or simply walking while checking the phone which can pose a potential hazard.
Furthermore, phone addiction can result in loss of concentration in studies and work, it can also affect our mood depending on who writes or calls us at any given time.
Several studies have found that people with a serious mobile addiction have serious problems concentrating on tasks such as reading, working, or studying; and usually, they are unable to do anything, always feeling the need to look at their mobile to check their notifications.
Blue light from our mobiles can alter our circadian rhythm, creating serious difficulties in falling asleep and maintaining it properly. Also, much exposure to phone screens can cause digital eye strain.
Finally, it should be noted that addiction to the phone not only takes us away from reality but also from our loved ones and those that matter in our lives. You can miss many things and distance yourself from your closest people by constantly being engaged with your smartphone screen.
What To Do If Your Child Or Teen Is Addicted To His Or Her Phone?
To prevent these phone addictive behaviours, it is recommended that children between 6 and 9 years do not spend more than 30 minutes a day with mobile phones or similar electronic devices; between 8 and 14 years old, the recommendation is one hour and from the age of 14 it can be extended to two hours.
Teach our children the ideal way to use their phones. Education is the best way to prevent our children from developing an addiction problem with their phones. In the same way that we teach them to wash their hands or give thanks, we must be concerned and put effort to ensure that they learn to use their mobile phone correctly; to prevent addiction.
Also, make effort to protect them from the dangers of the Internet. Certain contents on the internet are not good for children. If a child becomes exposed to adult games and pornographic content, or a movie series meant for adults, such a child may become very addicted to these, not to mention the potential harm that comes along with them.
As parents, we should also try as much as possible, to reduce the use of mobile phones in the presence of our children. We must permit the children ample time for them to mature and develop their capacity for self-control before exposing them or granting them access to the smartphone.
Parents must agree on the fact that children learn by repeating what they see in their environment. If parents abuse the use of mobile phones and spend all day hooked on the phone, their children may equally learn to do the same. So parents must control how much time they spend on their phones whenever they are with their children.
Finally, it is necessary that we put in place certain rules or regulations that guide our children to make correct use of the mobile phone. Example:
- It is important that an adult is present when the child is with the mobile phone to control the time and content he or she visits.
- Limit the total time that the child can use the different devices (mobile, computer, tablet…etc.).
- Turn off the cell phone during sleep hours or bedtime.
- Agree with children on the when and how to use the mobile phone. For example, not taking it to school or not using it during meals, or on weekends, it should only be used for a given time (e.g., for 1 hour)
- Establish priorities and responsibilities in relation to daily activities.
How To Get Rid Of Mobile Phone Addiction?
Addicted people often deny it because they are often not even aware they have this problem in the first place. People who are aware of the negative effect of mobile phones on their lives often ask for help, especially when their use of mobile phone start deteriorating their personal, social and physical well-being.
If you think you have enough symptoms to consider that you have a problem of phone addiction, it is best to act on the matter. For this, we give you a series of tips to help you face this problem.
Turn off the phone at bed or during bedtime. Respect your rest hours, even if you use it as an alarm clock there is no excuse. Since current smartphones allow this option (to sound the alarm despite being off). You also have the option of “aeroplane mode”, which eliminates the possibility of receiving notifications (which is the main enemy).
Control and limit usage times of your phones. Most smartphones will allow you to check the hours of usage you make on them, and specify which apps you spend the most time on. You can always make reference to this so as to become aware of the real hours you lose on the phone, to enable you to set your own limits.
In the same vein, it is recommended that you create schedules in which you fix the limit of usage of the cell phone. For example, during meetings, meals etc.
Delete irrelevant applications and unnecessary notifications. Some apps do not stop sending notifications and have us constantly checking our smartphones. These types of Apps should be removed, better still, limit the notifications so you are not always prompted to check the phone.
One of the best treatments, as experts would tell us, is always prevention. Therefore, it is important to learn to identify phone addiction and related disorders, and its symptoms and take measures (especially if you have young children and adolescents) to ensure that it does not happen.
You may also need to see a psychologist, a professional or those who are specially trained in handling issues like this. Like any addiction, you can consult professionals to help the addicted person. They usually will offer you psychological tools and techniques to deal with this addictive behaviour.
There are also books, video series and other resources online which can equally help you in tackling the issue of phone addiction. If you are one of those suffering from phone addiction, or you have been manifesting the symptoms mentioned above in recent times, then you may consider getting this eBook below:
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