Most people fear their phone’s screentime tracker, and for good reason. No one wants to see that they spent four, six, or even eight hours staring at their phone. But the unpleasant truth is that most of us spend even more time looking at electronic devices than we realize.
While your phone does an excellent job at tracking how long you use it, it’s not the only device you use throughout the day. Between sending messages and taking social media breaks, most people are using computers, TVs, and tablets. All of that adds up, meaning that the average person ends up spending 17 hours a day, or 44 years of their life, staring at screens.
Work may be a necessity, but doomscrolling and constant phone use aren’t. So at what point does phone use become unhealthy? How can you tell if you’re addicted to your phone?
Today we’re going to tackle all of those big and intimidating questions.
Why excessive phone use is unhealthy
Many people know that using their phones for too long is unhealthy, but not everyone knows why.
For one thing, excessive phone use can give you a warped sense of reality. When you see happy and successful people on Twitter, Instagram, and the internet in general, your own life can start to seem lackluster and dull. It’s difficult to remember that nobody is as happy as they appear online.
Using your phone too much can also increase feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, and irritability. These feelings can become exacerbated when you don’t have access to your phone.
Finally, using your phone for too long can also impact your physical health. Staring at screens all day is harmful to your eyes, and the blue light that your phone and other devices emit can make falling asleep difficult.
What addiction looks like
So what constitutes phone addiction? While we should all use our phones less, there’s a difference between excessive use and addiction.
Some of the signs of actual addiction include:
- Waking up in the night and feeling compelled to check your phone
- Checking your phone the moment you’re alone or bored
- Injuring yourself or getting into an accident because of phone use
- Feeling anxious or angry when you can’t use your phone
- When your phone use begins to impact your social or professional life
- When the people around you voice their concern about your phone use
If you find yourself experiencing one or several of those symptoms, you may have a problem.
How to cut down on your screentime
While using your phone too much can impact your physical and mental health, several simple steps can help you cut back on your screentime.
For one, make a point to set a screen limit for yourself each day. If you pass it, don’t use your phone again. You can even have your phone disable nonessential apps if you use them for too long.
Turning off notifications can also help keep you from checking your phone every second of the day. When you don’t have notifications bombarding you, you’ll feel less inclined to reach for it.
Finally, try putting your phone out of reach for chunks of time. If you know that you have a project to work on for the next few hours, keep your phone in another room. Likewise, if you plan on going to bed at 11 pm, move your phone out of your bedroom at 10:30 pm. When your phone is out of sight, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it also goes out of mind.
Less screentime and a healthier you
While phones and other electronic devices may make our lives easier, they can also lead to some very real physical and mental health issues. If you suspect that your phone use is getting out of hand, make a point to combat your addiction.
You’ll be amazed at how much happier you feel when you log off and become a part of the world around you.