Phone addiction is real.

And it’s real for most of us, whether we want to admit it or not.

There are so many people walking around nowadays absolutely glued to their phones. You don’t have to walk too far without coming across someone headed straight towards you, head down totally immersed in their screen, without knowing you are there.

The introduction of smart phones, and the ever evolving immersive technology that goes with them, are becoming a plague on society.

And alongside some of the more common signs & symptoms of phone addiction, there’s also some extra, sometimes unintentional, side effects too.

Extra Side Effects

Social media stalking

“What’s she up to?” “Who’s she with?” “I wonder what she’s doing nowadays.” “Is she still fit?

The temptation is sometimes too great. The desperation is sometimes even greater.

And almost everyone has done it at some point.

You want to see how they’re doing, who they’re with, have they moved on, etc.

Even if you’re the one that left them, I bet the curiosity has gotten the better of you once, and with a phone, you’re only a few clicks away to having that curiosity satisfied.

Having to Google everything

Again, this is something that we’ve all done, or probably still continue to do.

All questions answered instantly.

  • No need for brain power
  • No need to do research from a book
  • No need for common sense
  • No need to search your memory banks

Googling everything has made people lazy.

Yes, it’s a great tool, but it’s taken the fun & enjoyment out of learning.

Feeling lost without your phone

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) might be associated with social media, but how many people nowadays feel utterly lost without their phones.

Some of you may even get that phantom feeling in your leg as if your phone has buzzed, even though it isn’t there!

Crazy, right?!

Well, with the amount we all use our phones, FOMO is becoming a very toxic, and socially disturbing, side effect. A side effect that is leading to anxiety, depression and, in extreme circumstances, suicidal tendencies amongst those that have become truly addicted.

Playing on your phone at the dinner table

This is a pet peeve of mine, and I imagine it is of yours. The art of conversation has been lost in recent times and it is no surprise that its coincided with the rise in smartphones.

People would rather scroll social media than talk to the people at their dinner table; their family and friends.

It is discouraging to witness, and it is downright rude.

Being unable to sit with new people without checking your phone

  • You feel awkward, you reach for your phone
  • There’s a dip/ lull in the conversation, you reach for your phone
  • You find your mind wandering, you reach for your phone

All these are born out of habit. You’ve conditioned yourself to grab your phone at the slightest feeling of unease.

My wife and I once observed a couple at a restaurant. They were on a first date which was evident as they introduced themselves to each other at the beginning.

Anyway, he received a text message a few minutes into the date and after he took too long to read it, she got her phone out to read too. Well, the rest of the date was spent with each of them on their phones.

If a first date can’t shake the need to be on your phone, then I guess society is doomed!

Think twice before needlessly taking out your phone.

Leave it alone.

How do you combat your phone addiction?

Well, there are a few easy wins which you can do immediately:

  1. Turn your phone when you’re not using it
  2. Place it out of reach when you’re not using it
  3. Delete social media apps from your phone
  4. Set a specific time of day to update social media, check replies, etc
  5. Turn off notifications, alerts and place phone on silent/vibrate
  6. Get a more active life that doesn’t involve being on your phone, i.e. being in nature

And for those that are feeling totally overwhelmed, in need of total quiet and less distraction, or are feeling brave and up for the challenge:

  1. Downgrade your phone so you won’t want to use it
  2. Give up using a phone altogether

Don’t let your phone addiction get in the way of your life.

Put it down, get out in nature and enjoy being back in the real world.

Take care,

Birth of Clarity

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Originally released via tribemedia.substack.com