11 Apr Are You a Phone Addict? How Would You Know?
One of the the things that most worries users of our site is whether they are a real phone addict. If you’re using your phone for hours every day, is that in itself a symptom of addiction? Or are there other tell-tale signs that might tell you if things are getting out of control?
Four common signs and symptoms of an addiction are:
- Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you.
- Continuing to engage in certain behaviours, despite negative consequences.
- Withdrawing from responsibility and socialising.
- Trying, but failing, to reduce or stop.
So, let’s take them one by one to see if you’re really a phone addict, or if you just might want to think about cutting down.
#1 Losing interest in other activities
This is a classic hallmark of addiction and might tell you if you are really a phone addict or if you just need to rebalance your relationship with your device a bit more.
Think about all the off-screen activities that bring you joy and make you feel healthier and happier; spending time with friends and family, time for exercise and sport, being outside in nature, any form of creative activity that stimulates you. Now, think about whether time spent in those different activities has increased or decreased over the past few months in favour of time wasted on your phone.
Look at the tools on your phone to see if you’ve got a good grip on how much time you’re actually spending on it and then think about whether other activities are being curtailed as a result?
#2 Continuing, despite negative consequences
Now, think about whether the time you’re spending on your phone is having any negative consequences in your life. Are you missing out on work? Or not completing it properly? Are you spending less and less time eating healthily? Is your sleep suffering because of hours spent on your phone late at night?
Be honest with yourself about what the downside might be of your existing phone habits. It might be that others have complained that they have less and less of your time and attention because you’re glued to your phone. Does that sound familar?
Try our smartphone addiction quiz.
More serious than just neglecting other hobbies and interests is when you find yourself withdrawing from responsibilities or socialising with other people, because your phone habits have simply taken over your life. Are you spending hours scrolling on your phone caught up with social media but not seeing friends in real life? Do you hardly come out of your bedroom at the weekend because you’re glued to your phone?
#4 Trying but failing to stop
This last one is the killer sign. Have you worried about being a phone addict in the past and set yourself boundaries and limits to curb your screen time but then failed to stick to them? Do you really want to spend a lot less time on your phone but simply can’t put it down? When your behaviour is at odds with the goals you set for your life, that’s something that should worry you.
If you’re starting to become concerned then you should see a professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. If you think that you probably aren’t a real phone addict, but are still keen to cut down, then read up on the tricks adopted by the persuasive technology industry which keep you hooked to your phone. Understanding how the tech works to keep you there longer than you intended could well help you set boundaries and stick to them better.
And check out all the resources on our website for how to do a digital detox and step away from tech from time-to-time.
For more about how to tame your phone habits – pick up a copy of our new book: My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open. Available to order here.