Every turn you make, you see people engrossed with their smartphones. They cross the street talking or texting completely oblivious to cars and others around them. It feels as if they look away from the screen for one split second, they will miss something. In addition, we see young children alienated from the world because of smartphones. Their socialization is the phone. There is less face-to-face interaction.
I am not going to deny I do have a smartphone addiction. However, I know there are limitations. I now understand that, as much as I want to know what is happening via email or social media, I must put my phone aside when interacting with others. It is rude and disrespectful to stare at the phone while someone is talking to you.
Here are three signs of smartphone addiction and tips on reducing the addiction:
Staring at your phone
I was guilty of staring at my emails expecting something earth-shattering to buzz in while speaking to family at the dinner table. It doesn't matter how old I am, my mother will always put me in my place. And that night she did. We removed all phones from the dinner table. When you are about to have a one-on-one or group conversation, be respectful and put the phone away. Just think how we used to do it when cell phones didn't exist.
Sleeping with your phone
I know a few friends who place their phones under or nearby their pillows. Unless you are expecting a life or death phone call or email, remove the phone from under your pillow and place it on the nightstand. Turn it off or at least turn off social media notifications and leave the phone on if someone needs to reach you for emergencies. The farther you place your smartphone, the less you want to get out of bed and reach for it.
Checking the phone in the middle of the night
This may sound a tad excessive but the truth is people do wake up in the middle of the night to check if someone has responded to their comments on a particular social media platform or check how many people liked a picture. When I first entered the social media world, I used to check at all absurd hours. Until I realized how senseless it was that I was ruining my sleep time for responses or likes I can actually read at a reasonable hour. You need to tell yourself that whatever information you are expecting can wait until the morning. Your rest comes first. Socializing comes second.
I know it is hard to stop an addiction overnight. But when you set limitations and follow through, you will slowly see a positive change in how you deal with your addiction.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.