Everywhere you look you will see someone with a cell phone attached to their ear, or they will be in the process of sending a text or checking their emails as they walk around. Technology is so much a part of our daily life now that unless we have our phone in our hand we can feel cut off from the rest of the world. Cell phones have become just as much of an addiction as drugs or alcohol with people being unable to separate themselves from their phone for more than a minute at a time.
Cell Phone Addiction Symptoms
Be honest with yourself and ask yourself the question about just how important your cell phone is in your life. If it is so important that it is negatively impacting on the quality of your daily life then you really do have a problem. Are you walking around the house holding your phone? Do you regularly check the screen to see if you have received any messages that you might have missed? Do you have your phone beside you at the dinner table? Do you sit in a restaurant playing with the apps on your phone rather than indulging in conversation? Is your phone permanently in your hand or constantly in your line of vision? If you obsess over having the latest apps, the newest accessories or the latest model then your obsession is most definitely an addiction.
What about your phone bill? If you find that the amount that you are spending on your phone is in excess of the budget that you have you are coming close to another addiction. Are you finding that your social life has deteriorated since you started obsessing over your cell phone? Are you missing out on time with your friends because you are too busy playing around with apps and social networking sites? If you are missing any time at all with your friends and family you are looking at a cell phone addiction.
The Causes of Addiction
Addiction is brought about by a number of factors; your cell phone may just be one branch of a larger technology based addiction. These days a phone is no longer just a phone they have become the ultimate communication tool, they not only allow you to play games, they allow you to interact and play games with people all over the world. They allow you access to the internet and all of its many diversions and they allow you to send and receive emails. The number of social networking sites is increasing week on week and it seems that the only way to keep in touch with all of your friends and family is online.
You have probably made a lot of new friends online through all of the different games and social networking sites that you have access to, and without your phone you feel that you would not be able to keep in touch with these new friends that live overseas. You enjoy the level of interaction that you have through your mobile device and the opportunities to trade information, photos and other information is hard to resist, so that you find you are spending more and more time each day on your cell phone. Part of the addiction is linked to the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ syndrome, the fear that by doing something other than regularly checking in on your phone you might miss something of importance.
Options for Treatment
Just as with other forms of addiction unless you face up to the fact that you are addicted in the first place you are not going to be able to overcome the addiction full stop. You need to be brutally honest with yourself and answer truthfully whether you think your usage of your mobile phone is impacting on your social life and the activities that you are involved with at home. It may even be impacting on your productivity levels at work or at college. Once the problem has been identified you are then able to work towards a solution to the problem.
Overcoming any addiction requires taking small steps, one at a time. Trying to achieve too much in one go will do you more harm than good. Just because you are addicted to your phone it doesn’t mean that you have to stop using it, after all it is a valuable tool. Just cut down on the amount that you use it. Cut down on all of the unnecessary use that it was getting, there is no need to check your Facebook account twenty times a day, and there is definitely no need to take it into the bathroom with you! If you notice that someone has made a comment that you feel the need to respond to there is no need to do it straight way, the information is not going anywhere. Start prioritising what is really important and what can be put onto a back burner.
Try spending some time away from your phone, even an hour a day will make a difference to your perceived reliance on it. Go for a walk and leave the phone at home, go for a soak in the bath but leave the phone in another room, wean yourself away from the constant demands it makes on your attention. Stop carrying it around with you at home, leave it in one place and get on with some other activities.
Regain Your Independence
By restricting the amount of time that you spend each day away from your phone you will be working towards regaining your independence from it. So that eventually you will once again view it as a communication tool rather than a lifeline to a virtual world. You will probably find that you engage in real, face to face conversations more and your habits will change so that the phone can be picked up and put in your pocket without you having to check your status updates first. Cell phone addiction is a growing problem, not only with the younger age groups but right across the board, but it can be addressed and treated successfully once the problem has been identified.