Just because smartphone addiction is not an officially diagnosed condition does not mean it is not a growing problem. If you find yourself always on your phone or have loved ones who complain about it, then consult our smartphone addiction tips.
Now and then we all find ourselves in a positive feedback loop with smartphone apps: you close an app, open another and then go right back to the other app. For some, it happens every day, every hour. Smartphone addiction is a growing problem, especially in the United States.
The phenomena known as FOMO (fear of missing out) has grasped our society hard with the advent of the smartphone. These days, if you are not up to date on the latest gossip, music album or news headline, you feel like you are at a disadvantage.
We are on our smartphones all the time — sometimes even when we do not want to be. In many cases, people rely on their smartphones as a substitute for genuine social connection. This condition helps explain why many smartphone addicts experience depression. Even though it feels like we are missing out when we are not on social media 24/7, few people notice. We tend to think that all eyes are on us in the digital sphere, but in reality, no one cares that much.
Smartphone has quickly become such a fundamental part of our daily life; there is no telling the potential consequences extended use may have. If you have tried to cut back on your smartphone usage, but keep getting sucked into addictive apps or games, do not worry. You are not alone.
Overcoming smartphone addiction is a tough task, but the mere acknowledgment that you have a problem is a great start. To help you with the rest, we have included some of the most useful smartphone addiction tips. Check them out.
How We Picked the Best Possible Tips
We ranked our smartphone addiction tips based on how effective they are for continued resistance to smartphone usage. The three specific areas we looked at when ranking are:
While some of the lower ranked tips might be helpful by themselves for some individuals, they are usually not enough to fully kick the addiction. However, when combined with the higher listed tips, you can become more aware of why you are using your smartphone.
Top 10 Tips On How To Overcome Smartphone Addiction
1) Be More Mindful When You Are Using Your Smartphone
This tip may sound simple, but it is one of the most critical ways to cut back on smartphone use. By being aware of when we use smartphones, we can untangle the cause of our dependence on it. Knowing the object, or real reason, behind smartphone addiction, is the first step to beating it. If we recognize that we are using our smartphones as an unhealthy coping mechanism, we will start to associate bad feelings with it.
Whenever you find yourself pulling out your smartphone, try identifying the reason why you are using it. If you are checking your phone during awkward silences at dinner, you may use your smartphone to avoid actual conversation — something that is often much harder and engaging than texting. If you find yourself regularly checking social media sites, you might be using your smartphone to replace real social connection. Identifying the real reason we use our phones can make us more cognizant in the future.
But how can we be aware of our smartphone activity when it feels like second nature? Luckily, the next is an excellent way to start.
2) Set Your Smartphone’s Color Filter to Grayscale
Why do we feel so good when we see that bright red or green notification on our phone? Why do most apps feature stunningly bright colors? The simple answer: to get, and keep your attention. When we associate the joy we get while engaged on social media with the intense colors on app interfaces and icons, the result is a conditioned response every time we see a notification. App developers know this, which is why they design their apps to keep you coming back to them over and over.
An easy solution to this problem is a grayscale filter. Grayscale essentially changes everything on your phone to shades of black and white. This setting takes away the power of color in grabbing our attention when we should be doing something else. To turn grayscale on with iPhones, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > Color Filters (button).
Turning your phone to grayscale relates back to the mindfulness advice because it forces you to recognize when you are using your smartphone, and why. It is honestly not that fun using your smartphone when it turns to grayscale — a testament to the power of color in developing apps. As such, you will be more aware when using your phone because it reminds you why you turned on grayscale in the first place.
3) Find an Accountability Partner Who Also Has a Smartphone Addiction
Let’s face it; it is easy to say you are going to cut back on your smartphone usage, but much harder to accomplish it. While it is important to stay committed to your goals, everyone slips up now and then. If you find it hard to self-regulate your smartphone activity, try finding an accountability partner — preferably someone who also struggles with addiction.
Regularly check in on each other over lunch, or in person. If you have someone to talk to when you feel the withdrawal from smartphone addiction, it can be a big help.
4) Change Your Notification Settings
Notifications are the bane of productivity. If you hear your phone go off, you will want to check if — it is just human nature. But, let’s be realistic; notifications are still necessary. And what if there is an emergency and someone needs to reach you? Some people cannot turn off all notifications.
However, you can limit your usage of them. To cut back on distractions, limit your notifications to applications you need in case someone contacts you. Messenger, phone calls, and emails are acceptable, but apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can wait. In fact, a lot of time these social media apps use meaningless notifications to draw users into their app. From there, it is just a time hole.
5) Try Going One Day Without Using Your Smartphone
Quitting cold turkey is not the best method since it encourages a get-better-quick mentality, but spending a day unplugged can be a great reminder of the joys that life offers besides smartphone connectivity. Let anyone who may contact you know that you are taking a break from your phone. Then, do something you usually would not do. Go hiking, try a new recipe in the kitchen, or catch up on your favorite book series. Rediscover the joys of life before smartphones.
If you find you enjoyed the experience, make the activity a weekly affair. Let Sunday, or whatever day you have off from work or school, be your smartphone detox day. You will be surprised how healing it can be.
6) Remove Time-wasting Phone Apps
Do you find yourself spending countless hours on phone games, Netflix or YouTube? The most natural solution is also the most difficult: to remove the temptation. Delete whatever time-wasting apps you use as soon as possible. These apps are dangerous for smartphone addicts because they provide a natural coping mechanism for boredom — which in turn leads to more usage. It is easy to alternate from a game to social media, to email and back again. Instead, get rid of the urge.
7) Try Not to Use Your Smartphone Before Bedtime
Bright, stimulating lights and sleep do not mix. If you find it hard to sleep after checking your phone, you are not alone. The bright lights of your cellphone trigger your brain to stop the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a vital neurotransmitter that helps you fall, and stay, asleep. Also, falling asleep next to your phone makes it the first thing you reach for in the morning. Ending and starting your day on your smartphone should be cause for concern.
If you can, try leaving your smartphone in a room beside the bedroom. This action removes the temptation to check your phone when you cannot sleep. If you use your phone as an alarm, try getting a digital or analog alarm clock.
8) Rewire Your Brain With a Productive Hobby
This tip also takes some work, but the benefits are well worth it. What is something you have wanted to do for a while, but cannot because of smartphone addiction? Maybe you have been trying to find the time to read another book, or paint something. Well, no more excuses. Overcoming your smartphone addiction frees up a lot of time that would typically be spent glued to the screen.
Replace a bad habit with a good habit. Every time you get the impulse to check your phone, instead open up your book, or whatever hobby you chose. Gardening, sewing, and music are also great hobbies because they use your hands to distract you. What this tip does is rewire your brain into associating the dopamine rush of a smartphone with these hobbies. If you keep at it, over time the urge to get on your phone will be replaced by the urge to read a book — a pretty great tradeoff.
9) Use Apps that Help Manage Smartphone Addiction
If you cannot trust yourself to keep track of your smartphone addiction, you can use an app instead. While this may seem counterintuitive for someone with a smartphone addiction, there are many apps geared toward spending less time on your phone. We have included some of our favorite ones. While some of these are free, others require a fee or membership.
This app collects information on your smartphone usage, which you can use to plan a future preventative plan.
A Facebook-style social media site, except you are only allowed to post one thing per day.
This app allows you to set specific times of the day to block out a particular app. It helps when used in unison with Checky.
Allows you to set a timer during which it locks you out of your phone while you eat dinner. If you check your phone, a noisy alarm goes off.
Basically of all these other apps rolled into one. It is more expensive than other apps but features an entire range of features.
10) If All Else Fails, Consider Therapy or a Replacement Phone
If you tried everything wholeheartedly and still suffer the pains of smartphone addiction, you may need more extreme measures. Therapy or counseling can help you recognize and cope with your addiction. Counselors can help you realize how you use your smartphone to deal. Alternatively, you can also resort to downgrading from a smartphone to a flip phone. Flip phones allow you to stay connected to the people you love while avoiding the temptations of apps.
Additional Advice for Getting Over Smartphone Addiction
We also recommend getting a watch, so you will not check continually check your phone for the time. While reviewing the time might seem innocent enough, it can be a gateway to notifications and extended phone use. Not to mention, watches can be a stylish accessory. Also, try to check work emails only at work.
Regarding which tip is best for you, we recommend a combination of all of them. Being mindful is definitely at the top of the list though. Every step is more natural than before if you are cognizant of your phone addiction. We hope some of these tips are helpful for getting over your smartphone addiction. Remember: do not be hard on yourself if you have a tough time. Quitting anything is a hard journey, and it takes time and commitment. Good luck!