- Do you take it to bed at night or even to the washroom?
- Do you feel insecure without it?
- Do you think it may be broken if it hasn’t beeped or rung for the last hour?
- Do you get out of bed when you suddenly remember you have forgotten to plug it in to the charging point?
- If you lose your phone or it develops a fault, do you feel as if your life is nearing its end or that you have been left on a desert island without any means of ever contacting another human being?
If your answer is ‘yes’, then, my friend, you could be addicted...
This is not a unique scenario and so I have to wonder what has happened to personal discipline and self-control? To become fanatical about always being available and to feel uneasy if you are beyond contact 24x7 is not an optimum state of mind.
It has been reported that, on average, many people check their cellphone over a hundred times a day for SMS, updating social media profiles, chatting or playing games. That’s about nine times per hour, with the greatest frequency being during the evening when we are meant to be relaxing with family and friends, or maybe working out at the gym.
Staying plugged into a high-tech network means that living in ‘real time’ with real people is reduced to a point whereby those with whom we are sitting are relegated to a subsidiary position in our table of priorities. This is, sadly, a position that is untenable in the long run, and unsustainable because the real world is infinitely more important than the virtual one.
Your cellphone can easily become an addictive liability and it is entirely up to you to change the situation. If you find yourself automatically jumping each time you hear an alert, ping or ring, then you must learn to reprogramme your reaction to deal with such interruptions at a more convenient time.
I am often given the excuse that many are waiting for an urgent email or phone call but I know — and they also know — that not everything is an emergency requiring immediate attention.
So, are you concerned that a tiny but powerful computer chip is taking over your personal life? Or do you think the concern is just exaggerated? Well, if you are of the former opinion and you want to do something about it, then try these simple tips:
- Be aware of your habit and accept that you are in danger of becoming hard-wired to your device.
- Impose time limits as we know that time can run away when using the phone.
- Create phone-free time zones — that means SMS-free also.
- Turn cellphones off at meal times.
- Don’t take it with you into the bedroom.
- Switch it off when with friends.
- If you hear an alert, ignore it — it can wait!
- Don’t take it with you to the washroom.
- Leave it at home when you go to the gym.
- As you get into your car, turn off the phone so you are not tempted to SMS or answer it while driving.
- Do not use for an hour before you go to bed so that you can unwind and your mind gets ready for sleep
And finally, try having one day during a weekend when you actually turn the phone off completely and then you will feel how liberating it is to be unhooked.
Abdicating control over your daily life to the unrealistic and inordinate demands of an electronic device is neither clever nor wise. Your brain is infinitely more complex and intelligent than an Android or Apple computer chip that has been programmed to make money for its manufacturer — so assert your dominance over your phone. It should be your slave — not the reverse.
Information technology can be an extraordinary asset if used wisely but, like over-eating, can make us fat and lazy if used to excess. And like being obese, it’s very difficult to break the habit — and can be quite painful to remedy. But when you do, you regain essential control.
* Turn your phone off in the evenings and weekends.
* Be the master of your cellphone, not its slave.
* Real relationships are infinitely more important than virtual ones.