Bay Area IT Support & IT Services

The Intivix Blog

Business IT Articles, News and Tips

Confronting My Phone Addiction.

phone addictionDon’t you think phone addiction might point to a bigger issue like other addiction? We all should try our best to  confront our addiction towards the phone.

I knew I had issues. But whereas most people have a fear of being without their phone, “Nophobia” (NoPHone-bia), I have a fear of LOSING my phone, “Lophobia”. It’s happened way too many times, hence my stock in Apple. Maybe you know the drill. First the “Oh, [email protected]%T!” moment. The panic sets in, your palms sweat and your heart pounds as the anxiety rushes through your entire being. You eye the nearest bathroom or trash can as your stomach turns inside-out. Once again, you have “misplaced” your phone, the lifeline to your entire world. Friends, family, income, social life, news, gossip, romance, access to the universe and your STRAVA® ‘Queen of the Mountain’ status. Gone. Poof. Finito.

Those are some pretty strong feelings. Don’t you think they might point to a bigger issue?   Like an addiction. I think so. So, I took a test to see. If you share a little too much angst about your phone separation, you may want to see where you stand on the spectrum.

US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day
on mobile devices in 2018.   90% of which is spent on apps.
emarketer, 2018

Today, our entire lives are logged and lodged into our devices.  Some psychologists say these smartphones have become part of our “extended self”. An extension of our brains that most people spend 100% of their time with. That means we rarely do anything without our smartphones.

“I can’t live without my phone.  Or can I?
Or an even more confronting, should I?”

The should is what’s weighing heavily on my mind. Literally. So, instead of delving into all the socially annoying aspects of folks tethered to their devices, or the insane impact distracted driving and even walking, I’m going to stick to what smartphones are doing to our brains. Because mine means a lot to me. And I need it to function at its peak,  whatever that is.

My brain has been hijacked.

The apps on our phones are designed to bait and hook us– Instagram, Facebook, all those dopamine laden games like Angry Birds, WordsWith Friends, Candy Crush, and thousands more. Not to access to all the information we’ve become addicted to. Design engineers prey upon our addictive nature. Personally, I’ve already relegated Facebook® and Twitter® to my laptop and dumped my game apps (sniff, sniff). But I am way too competitive to part with my Strava®.

“Nearly every app on your phone has been expertly engineered
to produce those very responses by designers skilled in manipulating
brain chemistry to elicit addictive behaviors.”
– Catherine Price, a science journalist, and author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone”

My phone is a time suck. Consequently, a money pit.

And as a freelancer, my brain time is money. The money that I live (and play) on. And for all you folks on salary, your time is someone else’s money. And, you’re spending more time on your phone than on your job, you’re losing THEIR money. Just sayin’.

My phone ate my brain’s superpowers.

Apparently, it’s not my age. It’s my phone. Check out what this AARP® card carrier discovered.

Why I can’t focus.  It’s no surprise that smartphones may bring out the ADD/ADHD in all of us. More and more phone addicts are blaming their diminishing attention spans on their newfound ADD diagnosis. They can try Addirol®. But a little time off their phones might do the trick.

And parents, you better wake up to recent findings on the impact smartphones and other devices have on your kid’s ability to focus. Unless of course, you think they’re going to manage their own screen time (snicker).  Word on the street: Our digital superheroes (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and more) totally limited their kids’ time on smartphones and devices.

It’s dumbing me down.

Gone are the days of remembering phone #’s, addresses, b-days, directions, or anything else we ever needed to know. Now, it’s all in the palm of our hands, not nestled in our brains. Well, there’s a link between that real smartphone of yours and an underutilized brain, they call it Mental Laziness. And it will nix any hopes of winning on Jeopardy.

My failing short- and long-term memory.

This, I don’t need, but here goes. Scientists have already deduced that those unyieldingly distractive smartphones are wreaking havoc on our short-term or working-memories, and consequently, our long-term memories.

“The magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” Study in 1956 suggests that our working
memory can only hold five to nine items in our working memory.

Today, scientists say that magic number is probably more like four.

Simply put, if we’re bombarded with too much information, our working-memories won’t hold any of it.  Example: Combine the alerts, texts, emails, and pop-ups that you think you don’t see, with that conference call you’re on. You’re likely to remember half that call.

So, the next time you wander around the store, wondering what you came in for, relax. It’s not your aging brain or early onset dementia. It’s your stupid smartphone addiction.

It’s not insomnia. It’s my phone.

This one really is a wake-up call. My brain needs sleep. Admittedly, I’m one of those sad-sacks who cuddles up to her phone or laptop at night. I actually thought scrolling through my keep-me-social apps, catching up on the news, and my Cobert reruns would help me fall asleep. But nooo… phones and tablets do the total opposite.

Apparently, anyone who knows about blue light and melatonin would know this. Seems that when the sun goes down, nature’s blue light dims and our bodies produce melatonin to tell our bodies that it’s time for bed. When the sun rises, the new day’s blue light wakes us up.

Well, guess what! OUR DEVICES EMIT BLUE LIGHT!  Guess I’m back on my coffee regime.

The deeper I dive into this topic, the more my head hurts. The above is only a sliver of how much our phones negatively impact our lives. Don’t know about you, but I’m ready for change, not cold turkey, which has led me to just what I need– How to Break Up With Your Phone. An amazing and spot-on book by author and science journalist, Catherine Price. It swallowed me whole, as it will you. I hope to see you on the other side.