Phone addiction – what is it, how does it manifest itself and how can you avoid it?

The mobile phone is no longer a simple communication tool, but also our main source of information. We use it for so many purposes that we can say it has become indispensable to modern life. Moreover, for many of us, the phone is the first thing we touch when we wake up and the last thing we need before falling asleep.

Being such a versatile tool, it’s only a step from using it effectively on multiple levels to the brink of addiction. How can you find out if you are addicted to the phone, what are the side effects of phone addiction, what impact can this addiction have on children and how can you control the acute need to be on the phone we will tell you in this material created especially for you if you have said at least once “I spend too much time on the phone”.

Here, specifically, is the information you are about to learn from this article:

 What is actually behind phone addiction?
 How does phone addiction manifest itself?
 Symptoms of phone addiction
 What are the side effects of phone addiction?
 The child is only on the phone - what can you do to distract him?
 How do you get rid of phone addiction?
 The child is only on the phone - what can you do to distract him?
 Autism because of the phone

What is actually behind phone addiction?

With cameras that perform almost as well as a professional device, with increasingly large displays and vivid colors that capture your attention for minutes on end, with fine lines and textures that are extremely pleasant to the touch, mobile phones do not they can’t help but be our favorite gadgets.

But how do you get addicted to the phone? Things are simpler than they seem.

Specifically, the use of mobile phones has become our main source of dopamine. The simple touch of the phone releases the hormone associated with reward and motivation into the body.

Therefore, it should not be surprising that you constantly tend to check notifications or messages that you have received, in search of the feeling of satisfaction. After all, social interaction creates a sense of well-being, and phones make it easier to stay connected with family, friends, or simple acquaintances.

According to a study carried out by Global Media Intelligence in 2020, Romanians spend more than 3 and a half hours a day with their phone in hand. More than 2 hours of that is dedicated to social media, with the rest going to games or other entertainment apps.

These figures only reinforce what we explained a few lines above. Phone addiction hides, first of all, addiction to dopamine, and in our case, to communication.

How does phone addiction manifest itself?

Researchers have discovered that, in fact, excessive use of the mobile phone gives rise to manifestations unknown until a few years ago. The most important of these are:

 nomophobia - i.e. the fear of losing your phone. This translates into the constant worry of checking that the phone is still in its place, which could mean reaching into the pocket where you know you put it;
 phantom vibrations - i.e. the feeling you get when you think your phone has vibrated, even though it hasn't.

Medical professionals who study mental health have attributed phone addiction to impulse control problems. The tendency to touch or use the smartphone several times a day is nothing more than a compulsive manifestation.

However, we cannot compare phone addiction with addiction to certain substances. Rather, we can associate phone addiction with gambling addiction, because there are many similarities between the two. Similarities may include:

 loss of control over behavior - when you don't realize how much time you spend with your phone in your hand;
 real difficulties in limiting activity - the impossibility of finding activities other than using the phone;
 feelings of irritability or even anxiety when the behavior is not practiced - nervousness when you cannot use the phone, for various reasons (you are in a meeting, your phone is discharged, you lose the signal, you cannot connect to a Wi-Fi network);
 immediate resumption of the behavior after a period of pause.

Symptoms of phone addiction

How can you tell if you have a cell phone overuse problem? If you find yourself in the following scenarios, you should probably raise some questions and take steps to correct this addiction:

 you reach for the phone whenever you are alone or when you are bored;
 feel restless or upset when you are not allowed to use your phone;
 you got injured at least once because you were paying attention to your phone;
 you spend more and more time with your phone in your hand;
 because of the phone, your performance at work, school or in relationships has decreased;
 at least one person has told you that you stare at your phone too much;
 if you try to limit the use of the phone you feel uncomfortable;
 you don't give up using your phone even when you're with friends or family.

All these signs should be a red flag for you. It is very possible to be addicted to your phone, so it is recommended to look for a solution to spend less time online.

What are the side effects of phone addiction?

A study that looked at cell phone addiction and psychological and physiological health in teenagers showed that those who use cell phones excessively can experience

 lack of sleep
 conflict in the relationship
 poor learning or work performance

Another study showed how easily we can lose focus when we get a notification on our phone, even if we choose to ignore it. Unfortunately, this fact can have particularly serious consequences.

You are probably not unfamiliar with the tragic events caused by drivers whose attention was directed to their phone instead of the road. The bad news is that multitasking is a myth. In fact, drivers will no longer give their full attention to the road and driving when they are distracted by their phone, even during a Bluetooth call.

When you’re tempted to text while driving, things become even more dangerous, because this activity will force you to:

 take your hands off the wheel
 take your eyes off the road
 you lose focus

The National Safety Council, a non-profit organization in America, estimated that 1.6 million traffic accidents occur each year due to the use of the phone while driving. So yes, the side effects of phone addiction can be very serious.

How do you get rid of phone addiction?

If you want to reduce the number of hours you spend on the phone every day, you can follow the tips below, which will more than likely give immediate results:

  • uninstall the apps you spend the most time on – accessing social networks or your favorite games on a laptop or tablet will reduce your time spent online. You will have much less motivation to check notifications, because logging in on devices other than your phone will require more energy;
  • mute notifications – if you want to keep the main apps you use on your phone, mute all notifications. That way, you won’t be distracted by every new comment, reaction, or post from friends on the list. On the Do not call system, I go out from time to time, you can order your daily schedule as you like, not according to the news from social media applications;
  • change your phone settings and set the display to black and white – in the settings of the phone you are using, you should have the option to give up colors, for a constant black and white variant for all the applications you use. We also tested the boring version of a display in shades of gray and, really, there is nothing interesting anymore in scrolling for minutes on end. You will be tempted to put the phone out of your hand as soon as possible;
  • track how long you’ve been logged in – Both iPhones and Samsungs or other Android phones have an option in their settings to track how long you’ve spent online. You will be amazed, at the end of each day, by how many hours you have wasted with your phone in your hand;
  • don’t bring your phone into the bedroom – if you spend the last few minutes of the day with your phone in your hand, create a new habit of leaving your device charging in another room. Not only will you be able to fall asleep much earlier than you usually do, but you will wake up in a much better mood and not start your day late;
  • don’t judge yourself for your addiction – the withdrawal symptoms you might experience when trying to quit your phone addiction are perfectly normal, so don’t blame yourself for still thinking about it. Allow time to pass and work daily through the methods explained above until you succeed.

Don’t forget that going out with friends or taking up new hobbies will help enormously in your fight against phone addiction.

The child is only on the phone – what can you do to distract him?

If phone addiction is strictly your problem, the measures are probably easier to apply. When children spend too much time on their phones, things tend to get complicated.

When the little one can’t get off the phone, it’s time to intervene. First, it is necessary to distinguish phone game addiction from tablet or phone addiction. First, find out what your child’s real addiction is and be ready to act. how do you do that

Explain. Even if it seems to you that the little one spends too much time with the phone in his hand, he might see the situation differently. Therefore, a calm explanation would save many tantrum scenes he might have. Tell him how important the social relationships he can have with other children during the time he spends online.

Your little one’s motivation will come with time, when hours spent outdoors or with friends may turn out to be more to his liking than online life.

Notice. It is possible that the little one does not have a real problem with phone addiction, but is passionate about a subject that he can only consume online. For example, if he has developed a taste for cartoon YouTube clips, find out what he likes most about them.

It is very possible that the subject that captivated him is also present in a board game, for example, that he can play with friends, instead of just sitting with the phone in his hand.

Set boundaries. Creating a schedule when the little one is allowed to play on the phone or tablet is important. This decision must always come with a compensation or offer of an alternative.

For example, you can ask him to help with the housework, directing him to activities that he really enjoys, such as helping in the kitchen.

The imposition of limits should continue with a parental control that you can install directly from the phone settings, with turning off access during the times of the day when you want the little one not to keep their eyes fixed on a device.

Give him an example. If your little one sees you using the phone a lot, he will be tempted to do the same. Remember, children do nothing but copy the behavior of their parents, so before you can rid him of his addiction, you will have to solve your phone addiction problem yourself.

The child is only on the phone when he is bored or feels ignored. Therefore, perhaps the measures taken should start from another direction, namely by integrating the little one into the family’s daily activities.

Autism because of the phone

You’ve probably heard the term autism over the phone and wondered what it means, exactly. It appears that the link between excessive cell phone use by parents and the high incidence of autism in children is real.

A group of researchers in Helsinki, Finland, have suggested that babies born in recent years are more likely to develop autism because their parents spend more time on their phones than looking at them.

Specifically, the specialists analyzed the behavior of some parents who had come with their children for a routine check-up at the clinic. The adults were made to wait for about 10 minutes before they were invited into the office with the little ones. Surveillance footage shows that most of the parents have their phones out, ignoring the babies.

A feature of autism is limited eye contact. So, when parents spend more time with their eyes on a device, instead of looking at their little ones, the latter tend to develop autism.

A similar thing can happen if the little one is exposed to the screens of phones, tablets or televisions. The phenomenon is called virtual autism and is similar to classic autism.

A recent study reveals that early exposure to screen devices can cause neurochemical and anatomical changes in the brain. Immediate effects may include reducing the concentration of melatonin and dopamine in babies’ bodies. The phenomenon of virtual autism is found especially among children who grow up in cities and who become addicted to the Internet from a young age, that is, less than 2 years old.

Phone addiction can turn into a serious problem, especially when it occurs among children. This is precisely why measures taken early and limiting access to applications or games should be done early, before things get out of control.

In the end, we are curious, how much time do you spend with your phone in your hand per day?