Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?

Or should we say “Are you hooked on to facebook?

Look around you and you see everyone glued to their smartphones.

No doubt you’ve seen the following scenarios, probably many times:

• Young couples out to dinner pull out their smartphones to check messages, emails and social networks even before scanning the menu, and check their phones repeatedly throughout the meal.

• Shoppers and commuters standing in line, people crossing busy streets, even cyclists and drivers whose eyes are on their phones instead of their surroundings.

• Toddlers in strollers playing with a digital device — a parent’s or perhaps even their own — instead of observing and learning from the world around them.

• People walking down the street with eyes on their phones, bumping into others, tripping over or crashing into obstacles.

Observations like these have prompted a New York psychotherapist to ask, “What really matters?” in life. In her enlightening new book, “The Power of Off,” Nancy Colier observes that “we are spending far too much of our time doing things that don’t really matter to us.” Both in and outside her practice, she has encountered many people who have become “disconnected from what really matters, from what makes us feel nourished and grounded as human beings.”

As with so much else in life, moderation in our digital world should be the hallmark of a healthy relationship with technology. Too many of us have become slaves to the devices that were supposed to free us, giving us more time to experience life and the people we love. Instead, we’re constantly bombarded by bells, buzzes and chimes that alert us to messages we feel compelled to view and respond to immediately.

“Most people now check their smartphones 150 times per day, or every six minutes,” Ms. Colier wrote. “And young adults are now sending an average of 110 texts per day.” Furthermore, she added, “46 percent of smartphone users now say that their devices are something they ‘couldn’t live without.’”

We are turning into digital robots. Will future generations know how to converse with one another face to face? Will they notice the birds, trees, sunrise and the people with whom they share the planet?

Instead of visiting art galleries, attending concerts or walking on picturesque wooded paths, one woman I know who came to Woodstock, N.Y., last summer spent the weekend on her iPad communing with her many “friends” on Facebook. All I could think was “What a waste!”

Why, you may ask, is it so important to limit our digital lives? “Without open spaces and downtime, the nervous system never shuts down — it’s in constant fight-or-flight mode,” Ms. Colier said in an interview. “We’re wired and tired all the time. Even computers reboot, but we’re not doing it.”

Ms. Colier, a licensed clinical social worker, said, “The only difference between digital addiction and other addictions is that this is a socially condoned behavior.” While her book contains a 30-day digital detox program, in our interview she offered three steps to help curb one’s digital dependence.

1. Start by recognizing how much digital use is really needed, say, for work or navigation or letting family members know you’re O.K., and what is merely a habit of responding, posting and self-distraction.

2. Make little changes. Refrain from using your device while eating or spending time with friends, and add one thing a day that’s done without the phone.

3. Become very conscious of what is important to you, what really nourishes you, and devote more time and attention to it.

In light of what we have talked about,I would recommend watching this Public Service Commercial:

On a lighter side, since we have to live with ourselves and the ‘addicts’ all around us, here’s a video “You posted that on Facebook?”on YouTube

RELAX.LIFE – HUB of Positive NEWS

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