Smartphone Detoxing in a Digital World

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Smartphones are the ubiquitous symbol of the 21st century, with practically everyone having one in their pocket, or chances are, in their hands, maybe right now as you’re reading this. But now, we’ve become a little more than attached to these devices. The average adult checks their phone anywhere from 50-300 times a day, thanks to a sweet little release of dopamine released by our brains every time we hear our phones ding or see a notification.

Every time we see a new text, facebook notification, or email, our brains pump out a rewarding hit of dopamine, and over time, that reward can become incredibly addicting. Many of us simply pick up and unlock our phones for no reason at all – checking it over and over for something and hoping to be rewarded with a hit of dopamine.

This has led many doctors and psychologists to develop a concerned outlook on the relationship we have with our smartphones. Some say that over time, smartphone use can become a behavioral addiction, similar to that of gambling. Some signs of problematic smartphone use can include

  • It reduces time spent with friends or family
  • It causes you to get less sleep.
  • It causes you to be rude in social settings

Many are now going on “smartphone detoxes”, in the hopes of flushing out the strain of being constantly connected to your digital life and your devices. This, however, isn’t as easy as it seems for some. Data shows that one in three people around the world has trouble unplugging from their smartphone. Thankfully, there are some tools you can use to help you change the way you use your phone.

Screen Time (iOS)  and Digital Wellbeing (Android)

Both of these features are powerful tools that can help you curb the amount of time you spend on your smartphone. They help measure how much time you spend on things like social media, entertainment, and texting. You can even set limits on how much time you want to be allotted per day on your smartphone. After reaching the limit, your phone will gray out the icon and let you know once it’s unlocked the next day.

Have a no-device day

Try taking one day out of the week where you power down your smartphone and not use it for a 24-hour period. Try spending this time with friends or family, catching up on reading, or doing outdoor activities.

Don’t bring your phone to bed

Laying in bed on your phone mindlessly scrolling through social media has a huge impact on the quality of our sleep. Taking in all that blue light shortly before bed can make it tough to fall into a restful sleep. Try keeping your phone away from your bed at least an hour before going to sleep. Use a traditional alarm clock to help you get up in the morning, leaving your phone in a different room or away from your reach.

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