04 Mar 7 reasons your smartphone is a weapon of mass distraction
The smartphone has revolutionised the world we live in and how we communicate. And with this revolution has come a huge increase in the amount of time that we spend on digital screens and in being distracted by them.
Here are seven reasons why that harmless-looking smartphone lurking in your pocket is actually a serious weapon of mass distraction.
#1 Your phone distracts you even when you don’t pick it up
When you have a lock screen filled with notifications, messages and missed calls, simply knowing they are there waiting for you to read is straining your memory. The Journal of Experimental Psychology conducted research that reveals your mobile phone is disrupting your performance throughout the day.
Noticing your phone has rung or that you have received a message and making a note to remember to check it later distracts you just as much as when you actually stop and pick up the phone to answer it.
#2 Even driving handsfree is distracting
Although it is illegal to drive whilst using your phone, research has found that using a handsfree or a bluetooth headset could be just as problematic. Drivers who choose to use handsfree whilst driving tend to be distracted up to 27 seconds after they’ve been on the call.
#3 Your phone is distracting you from sleeping
Smartphones are proven to affect our sleep. They disrupt us from getting our heads down with our endless nighttime scrolling, and the blue light emitting from our screens hinders melatonin, a chemical in our bodies which helps us to sleep. With our phones keeping us mentally engaged throughout the evening, they are definitely preventing us from being able to relax and wind down at bedtime.
#4 The urge to CHECK your phone is seriously distracting
500 students at Kent University participated in a survey where they found that consistent use of their smart phone caused psychological effects which affected their performance in their academic studies and their levels of happiness. The students who used their smartphone more consistently found that they felt a more uptight, stressed and anxious in their free time. Researcher Jacob Barkley also explains how frequent smartphone users felt strong impulses to check their phone.
“In our previously published research, we found that high-frequency cell phone users often described feeling obligated to remain constantly connected to their phones.”
Feeling the need to consistently check your phone even if there is no reason to do so is a huge distraction and will affect the tasks you have at hand.
#5 Your smartphone distracts you from practising your memory skills
In an online survey of 6000 participants, 79.5% admitted that the internet functions for them as an extension to their brain. Shockingly, 61% felt that it was unnecessary to remember information that was stored on the internet as they could return to it anytime. Author of ‘The Shallows – The internet is changing our brains‘, Nicolas Carr says that the ‘Google effect’ is destroying our memory skills and essentially making us stupid.
#6 That pain from your text neck is horribly distracting
‘Text neck’ is a medical condition which affects the neck and spine. Looking down on our smartphones during our commutes, during walks and sitting with friends we are permanently shortening the neck muscles and developing a painful chronic (medically proven) condition. And nothing distracts you like pain.
#6 Social media is driving you to distraction
It’s easy to access social media on our smartphones at any time day or night. And checking social media is one of the most frequent use of a smartphones and the biggest distraction and time-waster. Removing social media apps from phones is one of the important stages in our 7-day digital detox for very good reason.
Learn how to limit your use of your smartphone if you want a productive and fulfilling life. It’s a serious weapon of mass distraction in your daily life and you need to find tricks to tame it before it takes over your life.