Ten Ways to Curb Smartphone Addiction for You and Your Family
Smartphone use can be addictive. However, by establishing and following best practices, you can prevent you, your friends and your family from becoming addicted
Smartphones are an important part of everyday life. They help us bank, navigate, keep track of the news (national, local, and with our friends) as well as helping us to keep in touch with each other. But phone use can be addictive.
Studies show that “those folks who are passionate about using their smartphones have the same sort of brain pathways that those with drug addictions have,” said Luis Alvarez, of CEO of Alverez Technology. These studies demonstrate that we must be careful about smartphone limits.
Alvarez said that people might be surprised to know that one-quarter of all children ages 8 to 12 in the United States have smartphones. “It’s important as parents that we exercise parental controls,” he said.
The following are tips for preventing you and your family from becoming addicted.
- Track and limit usage. Apps such as Space and Moment can help you do this. Consider setting specific times during the day when you will use your phone, or, at least, when you will use it for non-work related activities.
- Meditate or do yoga or tai chi. Studies have shown that people get a real sensation of euphoria when someone likes something you have posted on social media. This triggers dopamine in the brain, which is part of our brain’s reward system. Yoga and other forms of meditation produce this dopamine more naturally.
- Recognize triggers that cause you to reach for your phone. Once you realize these triggers, whether boredom or anxiety, consider healthier ways to deal with them. These could include exercising or going out with friends or family.
- Turn off all notifications that aren’t from friends, family or coworkers.
- Delete social media apps from your phone so that you can only check them from the computer.
- Turn your phone to grayscale for all or part of the day. Research shows that colors are attached to emotions and turning the phone to grayscale will make it less fun to use. Also, turning your phone to grayscale about two hours before bed has been found to improve sleep.
- Leave your phone outside your bedroom and the bathroom. Use an alarm clock instead of your phone to wake up.
- Limit the number of times you check your phone. If you typically check it every five minutes, try going 10 minutes between checks. Once you are successful with limiting your checks to every 10 minutes, try 20.
- Stop scrolling. Many social media apps provide an unlimited feed of information. Set a limit on the amount of time spent on these apps.
- Make a commitment to family and friends to put your phone away during meals and other family time.