Are you addicted to your smartphone? If you relate all too well to the following signs, it might be time for some intervention.
1. You take it with you to the bathroom…all the time.
Back in the day, the lavatory—yes, I said lavatory—was known for reading the newspaper and doing our best thinking! So why not use that time to check on a few people online? I don’t think anything’s wrong with that…maybe not until you find yourself doing it just about every single time. When our smartphone is taking over our attention everywhere, including our every moment of, ahem, solitude in the restroom, it might be a sign we’re addicted to checking our phones.
2. It lives between your hand and your pocket.
Your phone is known to only be in one of two places. If it’s not in your hand, it’s been transferred to your pocket, and if it’s not in your pocket, it’s in your hand. These are the basic motions all day, every day, when it comes to you and your smartphone. It is now one with your body. If it’s not in one of those two places, it might as well be lost.
3. You jump to check every notification.
The downside of social media is that it has created a culture of acceptance cravings in our generation. Every “like,” every retweet, every positive comment, every compliment can translate as “I’m being accepted!” and that becomes addictive deep down for a lot of people, especially those who are struggling with rejection or insecurity and need to be constantly validated by others. So in this case, it’s probably a deeper underlying self-value issue that can make a person addicted to checking their notifications every five seconds.
4. Virtual reality takes precedence over actual reality.
I remember there was a time I struggled with this, mainly because in being an international organization, 90 percent of my ministry is done online, and there are so many needs that I felt obligated to meet all of the time. It was all in good intention until it began to overtake priorities I had in my present reality. If we don’t intentionally balance ourselves, we’ll find ourselves checking statuses and timeline scrolling that interrupts our schoolwork and studying, family time, household needs, or even Bible reading and quiet time. What we devote ourselves to faithfully will show us our true master.
5. It’s the first thing you check when you wake up and the last thing at night.
Is your phone on a charger somewhere close to your pillow, where it’s the first thing you roll over to check in the morning and last thing you see at night? I don’t think anything’s wrong with the act in itself, but it gets dangerous when it becomes a daily habit that constantly steals our most solitary times of day. In combination with all of the above, it could be a good sign you’re addicted to your smartphone.
6. You feel like you’re missing out on life without it.
Do you feel like you’re missing out on monumental facets of life if you’re not checking your social media timelines for the “latest and greatest” thing being shared? Yeah, there’s a chance you might miss some cool videos, some comment debates and controversial current news, but will your life end if you’re not “in the know”? I think not. In fact, I think we lose the valuable moments of being present in our own reality versus a virtual reality. For me, cooking, reading a book, talking with the neighbors and kids outside, painting my nails and coloring in coloring books with Austin are all simple joys, among many others, that I cherish so much that keep me present. Some things the Internet can never replace.
So now you may be saying, “Okay, Brittney, I think I’m addicted to my smartphone. What exactly do you suggest?”
Turn off notifications and delete apps.
When it comes to any addiction of any kind, you’re not just on the defense, you’re on the offense. I personally deleted a majority of social media apps from my iPhone, so the only way I can check things is if I physically get in front of a computer. Also, go into your settings to turn off the notifications for various apps, so they’re not constantly popping up at the top of your screen or showing up on the front face when your phone locks. This is just a preventive measure.
Don’t check your phone until 12 p.m.
Some days I’m better at this than others, depending on what’s taking place that day. If you can, try not to touch your phone until noon, if possible. Learn to just be present in the morning, take the quiet time you need and gather your own thoughts for the day rather than being mentally flooded with the timelines of others. It will make all the difference in starting your day from peace versus a mental rush.
Keep it in a totally separate room or drawer while you’re working.
This has been the jackpot of peace and focus for me. Many times when I’m writing, working or engaging with my son, I’ll leave my phone in a completely different room where it won’t distract me or I won’t feel tempted to be interrupted by other things trying to grab my attention. Ninety percent of the things that show up on my phone can wait anyway, and are rarely an emergency. It’s all about being fully present wherever you are.
Go on a social media fast
They say it takes about 21 days to break a habit. All of these things may have become second nature to you to a point where it’s subconsciously how you function. So you have to be intentional about breaking it. Not only will this help break the habit, but the point of a fasting is to take that time and redirect it toward your spiritual intimacy with God. Use the equivalent of that time to pray, read and worship Him instead. Any time God is not the center, our life is off balance. The goal is to get back in balance of the life He’s called us to.
Are you addicted to your phone and the world within it? Do you have any suggestions you’d add to the list or that you might consider changing? Comment below. Lets talk about it!