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22 February 2021

Phone addiction: what to do if you can't live without a smartphone?

Do you find yourself in the habit of notifying your virtual friends about all events?  Feeling like your day isn't going to be a busy one if you don't start by checking out social media?  Congratulations - you have developed a phone addiction.

Eleonora Rusanovska

Feeling energized when your phone vibrates? Or maybe anxiety when you don't feel it in your pocket? You may well have developed a phone addiction.

iPhone addiction is a real scourge of our time. Its consequences even generate separate definitions, such as nomophobia, which means “fear of being left without a smartphone”. How does it arise and can it be overcome?

How many hours a day do people spend on their smartphones?

About half of the world's population are active users of social networks.  It takes a lot of time to publish, process content, and comment. On average, a person spends 6 hours a day using a smartphone. This is almost a quarter of the calendar year.  Studies in the United States have shown that 19% of adults say they spend no more than 4 hours on smartphones every day, 51% use them every day for at least 8 hours, and the rest do up to 9 hours a day, not counting working hours at the computer. 

For self-test, you can track the number of hours spent on the screen in the settings of your phone.  On iPhone, go to Settings, go to Screen Time and see your result. In this section, you can set the time limit and blocking of certain content.

How does digital addiction arise?

Any addiction, including digital, as well as a good habit, can be developed. Many people know the 21-day rule: by repeating an action for three weeks in a row, we can introduce it into the daily norm and then do it automatically. The trouble is that an uncontrolled action can both help and harm.  In the case of constant use of the phone, we actively train our own bodies to a certain need. And then we don't notice at all how we disappear for hours in the gadget. But its original functions were designed to simplify our life, not consume it.

From the constant need for those very functions, people develop nomophobia.  Just imagine, this small digital box replaces a watch, a camera, a diary for personal notes and notes, maps, TV and audio players, and even shops. The programs on the phone literally investigate our every step. A person likes to be the center of attention, even if it is on his own smartphone. The hormone responsible for joy and happiness is produced - dopamine.

Application creators are analyzing this and are already preparing solutions to increase the number of users. They, in turn, bind us with periodic reminders, the ability to track a process, or simply give a sense of meaning.

Moreover, the manufacturers of the equipment itself delight us every year with more and more memory in smartphones, improved cameras and screens, and an updated design. Well, how can you not resist and buy another novelty? Naturally, after the purchase, you want to feel all the benefits of your own experience and spend as much time as possible dealing with them.

A person tends to surround himself with what he likes. What if all this fits in one device? Thus, we ourselves drive ourselves into a corner. Passion becomes a habit.

Who is most affected by phone addiction?

Digital addiction is not considered dangerous, as it is not comparable to alcohol or drug addiction. All the more insidious it is, because many "suffer" from it. And what is considered the norm in society does not force one to think and take decisive action.

Addicts tend to be more emotional people who try to suppress stress and frustration.


The most emotional creatures are women. Everyone knows the state of "seizing" stress and excessive anxiety for relatives. Also, women are more dependent on public opinion and greedy for various novelties. The availability of free time also affects the formation of addiction. Wanting to relax by picking up a book, or cooking a delicious dish for your loved ones is necessarily accompanied by a search on the Internet, which means it sucks into a vicious circle.


Men crave recognition no less. Also, modern technologies help the stronger sex to stay up to date. Due to the lack of free time, men are forced to use convenient services that facilitate their daily routine. So, ordering food to the office or making an appointment for a business meeting, a man will face the use of a gadget.


Children tend to absorb new information by getting answers to their questions. About 80% of today's children receive information through the media. Unfortunately, if you do not tell the child about the importance of the correct selection of sources, you can end up with an incorrectly formed psyche. Today it is impossible to restrict your child from electronics completely because the lion's share of the educational material is posted on Internet resources, but you can protect him from unwanted information. On iPhone, go to Settings, go to Screen Time, Content and Privacy, Content Restriction, and select from the options you want.


Older people are also influenced by modern technology. They need communication with loved ones and the energy that they draw from correspondence, posts, sending messengers. While many young people try to teach their old people how to use smartphones, they doom them to the same addiction. Wouldn't it be better to send your family on a trip or just listen to their stories, thereby making them a little happier?

Why is phone addiction dangerous?

Sleep problems, fatigue, irritation are all the first symptoms of addiction. Long-term smartphone use violates our privacy. He knows where we are, what we eat, who we see. The negative effects can be: deformity of posture, overweight, decreased concentration, and learning ability. When dealing with screens and digital information technology, we do not learn to spell, do not count in our minds, and do not read cards. We do not even try to remember the material because it will always be freely available.  A syndrome of "not knowing" is formed. When a person overestimates the amount of his knowledge.

Consequently, phone addiction hits us socially, physically, psychologically.

How to overcome phone addiction?

1. Filter content

Nomophobia, like any addiction, steals our attention, shapes our way of thinking, and requires a careful approach to the content we absorb. The simplest thing you can do is limit yourself to unnecessary information. Disable pop-up notifications. If possible, get rid of ads or skip them in the first seconds. Remove unnecessary applications. Organizing your desktop will help you to visit less frequent applications that are not related to a specific task.

2. Make an action plan

Make yourself a clear plan of action, where you will allocate the right time for spending time on the phone. Then there will be no temptation to sit in your free time on the Internet and push important matters aside.

3. It all starts from childhood

You shouldn't keep your child busy with the phone from the very childhood. A child will not be able to acquire implicit knowledge on his own, like riding a bicycle or preparing a meal according to a special recipe. By distracting children with their phones for their own good, adults deprive them of valuable skills. And then they themselves wonder why their children grow up aggressive. Studies have found that children who spend more than 3 hours a day on a smartphone are 10% -61% more likely to be obese. Protect your child from a similar fate.

4. Digital diet

Give yourself a fast. Set your phone aside for a couple of hours. See what will happen. Track changes in your body, desires, actions. Experience the real world. Then build up the interval. Remember, addiction cannot be overcome by brute force, which means that you need to wean yourself from it gradually. If your job involves long-term use of technology, skip to step 2.

5. You are not alone

Typical users of our time in 75% of cases grab their gadgets in the first minutes after waking up.  In Europe, there is even a cafe where visitors leave their phones at the entrance, for which they receive a discount on lunch. If you need an incentive, then one of the bestselling books that outlines the problem will help. These can be books: "The Digital Diet" by Daniel Sieberg or "How to Break Up With Your Phone" by Catherine Price.

Be honest with yourself. Take a break from your smartphone and look at the world around you.  Breathe life and enjoy live communication with people. It's easier than it sounds!

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