In today’s technology-oriented world, it is almost impossible to imagine life without smartphones. Smartphones are easily one of the most successful and most important inventions of the 20th century. They’ve become a convenient means of not just communication, but living an easier everyday life as well.
Modern smartphones can perform numerous functions. They can substitute for devices like cameras, music players, and organizers. According to the U.N. Telecom Agency, there are almost 6 billion cell phone users around the world, with almost 86 gadgets per 100 people. There is nothing strange about this fact as people need smartphones in every sphere of their lives – personal and professional. What people don’t notice is how much they become dependent on smartphones (especially social media) and the issues related to the excess usage of these devices.
Why do people get addicted to smartphones?
All the push notifications you get when someone likes your post on Instagram or tags you on a post on Facebook will give you a feel-good rush. This feel-good rush is called dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the brain releases when anticipating a reward or acquiring new information. This fuels your desire to seek and influences your reward-motivated behavior.
Since people spend so much time on the internet, especially on Social Media, the body continuously feeds on this instant gratification. As a result, you get stuck in this vicious cycle of tweeting, texting, and scrolling on your smartphone 24/7.
It isn’t limited to social media. There are numerous addictive apps and games on Android and iOS that will get you hooked and before you know it, you’ve spent the last 4 hours on your smartphone using those apps and playing those games.
5 common issues related to the overuse of smartphones
Some of the most common issues that you’ll face if you’re overusing your smartphone are –
Laziness to complete household chores or work
You don’t even have to be good at math to understand this – more time on your phone = less time to do other tasks. Also, the more you use your smartphone, the less inclined you’ll be to do other tasks because smartphones are huge distractions.
Increased anxiety levels
Addiction doesn’t just mean that you’re looking at your phone a lot. It’ll also come with measurable symptoms that indicate you are becoming dependent on your smartphone in a way that is impeding your daily life. For some, it means that just the thought of not being near their phone gives them anxiety, and going outside without their smartphone is a no-go entirely. If the thought of going outside while leaving your phone at home sends you into a panic, it is time to slow down on the use of smartphones, calm your nerves, and decrease your anxiety.
You’ll feel sleep-deprived
Your smartphones emit blue light, which causes a disruption in your sleep cycle, making it harder for you to doze off. Another serious sign would be when your eyelids are automatically closing but your fingers are still scrolling.
You’ll start scrolling mindlessly
Going through your social media feed and liking images, but then you realize you weren’t even noticing what you just “liked” or what the caption was with that photo. This is one major indicator that you’re overusing your smartphone.
Dry eye syndrome
Dry eye is one of the most common problems found in people who are addicted to using smartphones. Your eyes need moisture to function properly.
This is a condition that results from a lack of sufficient moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eye. People who suffer from dry eye syndrome will suffer from redness on eyes, headaches, and sensitivity to light. Gradually, tear production would decrease because of the damaged tear gland. Usually, a healthy person blinks their eyes 16 times per minute but with excessive use of mobile phones, it creases to below 8 times per minute. Hence decreasing the tear production.
How can you fix your obsession with using smartphones all the time?
- Set boundaries – You can start off slow by implementing a “no smartphone rule” at the dinner table, bathroom, or even on your bed.
- Re-adjust your bedtime routine – You can set your smartphone to airplane mode an hour before your bedtime and involve yourself in some self-care pampering sessions instead.
- Set limitations for your most-used gaming apps and social media apps – Alternatively, you could keep these apps in separate folders so that they are less visible from your home screen. You could even delete them temporarily if you find yourself spending too much time on them.
- Keep your phone in the drawer at work – Keeping your phone away from your table will decrease the distractions and you won’t be checking it every 5 min for social media updates. Who knows, you may even clock off work earlier by concentrating on your work and finishing it off sooner.
- Find a hobby – Instead of spending hours just aimlessly scrolling on your smartphones, use that time to indulge in any productive activity like reading a book, hitting the gym, or learning something new.