In contemporary times, smartphones have most certainly managed to establish themselves as quite a vital aspect of how we live out our everyday lives, and the common yet prominent issue of phone addiction is something that many people find themselves generally struggling with as they end up getting ensnared by its grasp. On this note, we think that it is ideal for us to be optimistic as we take on the path of liberating ourselves from the grips of phone addiction.
In this blog post, we will discuss 6 student-specific approaches that can be used by you to successfully fight against phone addiction.
We strongly believe that together, you and I can combat phone addiction by learning more about the reasons for this addiction and more importantly understanding how to get rid of the same.
What is phone addiction?
We have all learnt about a number of addictions. One such newly trending form of addiction which you might have come across is phone addiction. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Well, it is not so weird after all. In this kind of addiction, an individual tends to get entirely dependent on their phone and tends to fear the point wherein they would not have their phone handy due to whatever reasons. This particular form of fear is called nomophobia.
The most interesting fact of the matter is that this particular form of addiction is quite common and most people tend to not recognise it. On the other hand, it is also seen that the most common strata that are affected by this is students. Students have been increasingly found to be severely affected by phone addiction. The beginning of the same also at times is because students require phones to keep a balance between their personal and academic lives, but again more often than one would contemplate this balance is hindered in every manner possible.
So, as a student how can you know if you have reached the stage wherein you have phone addiction and are not just using your phone because it is a necessary tool for you? Well, below we some pointers which will help you analyze your situation and understand whether or not you fit the category of a phone addict.
Most people will choose their phone over everything else. And by everything, we mean over-human contact, socialising, alone time etc. They will be at all times indulged in their phone.
The most common symptom that one can find in anyone with an addiction is withdrawal symptoms. The same is true for phone addiction which you can clearly understand by the way one behaves which generally means that the person will be irritated and agitated.
Another prominent sign that phone addiction has taken over you is that you will end up neglecting your responsibilities such as your studies and homework etc because you are entirely engrossed in your phone.
Loss of control
So, it might happen that from time to time you feel that you are getting addicted to the phone but despite that, it will become very difficult for you to keep your phone down.
Interference with relationships
One of the apparent ways to know whether or not you are addicted to your phone is to ask yourself who you prioritise between your phone and your friends, loved ones and other interpersonal relationships.
What is the impact of phone addiction on mental health?
You might think if phone addiction can in any manner hamper your mental health. Well, it actually can. The thing is that any kind of addiction not only severely creates an impact on your emotional well-being but also ends up affecting you psychologically. The everyday battles that one fights with themselves can at times be nerve-racking and consume a lot of mental space in a person’s life.
Anxiety and Stress
When we talk about the mental effects that phone addiction can have on one, we have to discuss the anxiety and stress that one tends to go through when they spend long hours on their phone.
In fact, there are tons of research studies which clearly show that the long hours that one spends on their mobile phone directly trigger their anxiety response. Furthermore, it also tends to make us a little irritated and when as students the work piles on as one decides to spend time on the phone instead of academics, stress is also triggered.
Depression and Loneliness
Another frequently found impact, especially in students is depression and anxiety. This is primarily because students tend to compare themselves with others constantly when they spend long hours on their phones. This leads to insecurities and ultimately depression in a lot of cases. In addition to this, long usage of phones or phone addiction generally results in a loss of human connection and students tend to choose the online mode of communication which seldom makes them feel lonely.
It’s noteworthy that an overabundance of phone usage can lead one to feel lonely and upset, and viewing filtered social media posts could lead to distorted thoughts about oneself compared to others. Too much time spent on screens could potentially take the place of in-person interactions resulting in a sense of separation or detachment
Statistics on Phone Addiction
According to recent statistics, the worldwide adoption of smartphones has surpassed the halfway mark, with a penetration rate of around 51% as of 2021. This suggests that a significant portion of the global populace now possesses a smartphone.
Average Daily Phone Usage
According to recent studies, it has been found that an average individual spends approximately 3 to 4 hours each day on their smartphones. The numerical value in question may fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to age, geographical location, and personal lifestyle choices.
Social Media Usage
The prevalence of phone addiction has been linked to the widespread use of social media platforms. As per a report published by Statista, the global average daily duration spent on social media platforms was approximately 145 minutes in the year 2020. It is noteworthy that the younger age groups tend to spend even more time on these platforms.
Nomophobia, which is the fear of being without a mobile phone, is a prevalent sign of phone addiction. According to a study carried out in 2019, nearly all of the participants (99%) reported experiencing nomophobia to some extent, with a notable 13% displaying severe symptoms.
Impact on Sleep
The extensive use of mobile gadgets has harmful consequences that affect the ability to remain attentive or concentrate properly over time; additionally, recurring distractions and notifications hinder cognitive capacities. Dealing with challenging circumstances such as these may result in a detrimental impact on individuals’ emotions while also impacting their academic achievement and work output.
6 Powerful Strategies to Stop Phone Addiction for Students
As promised, in this blog we will take up the 6 strategies that can help students overcome phone addiction.
Set clear Boundaries
To begin with, the most important thing to have is boundaries. When we say boundaries we do not mean rigid concrete boundaries with no room for breathing. We mean that create assertive and clear boundaries for yourself in the sense that for how many minutes at a time you can use your phone. The total number of hours that you should be using your phone in the day etc.
Create phone-free Zones
Just like most students set clear boundaries about where and when to not study, the same needs to be created and maintained in the case of phones. In this case, one needs to set specific areas in the house wherein they cannot use their phones such as the bedroom or the dining table or the study table. When one sets these boundaries it is easier to put yourself in a space that is a phone-free zone and make sure to follow the same for as long as possible.
Practise Digital Detoxes
One of the primary uses of a phone these days by students is for social media. Because most of the students tend to be addicted to social media, by extension they find themselves in a position wherein they have phone addiction. In this scenario, a good way to work on phone addiction is to first work on your social media addiction. For this, one must try to go on digital detox wherein they make sure to not use their devices for a certain stretch of time at one go.
Disable Non-Essential Notifications
We tend to quickly check our phones as and when we get a notification. At times we don’t even find the notification essential for us but then we get lost in the intoxication of the phone as soon as it is in our hands. So it is quite easy to pick up your phone for checking your notification to spend hours on the phone. The best solution for this problem is to disable all of your non-essential notifications right away.
Establish Tech-Free Routines
We all at one point or the other have woken up to our phone and gone to bed with it in our hand. That is an incredibly wrong habit as it can hamper our health as well. What we can do about this is that we create a plan for ourselves wherein we get rid of our phone at least half an hour before we get to bed. You can rather include habits like reading yourself to sleep. The same should be followed when one wakes up, you can create a plan for yourself wherein you wake up and meditate or go out for a walk.
Find Offline Alternatives
The main way to make sure that you can keep your phone down is to find alternatives to your phone. When you start recognising the world outside your phone then you will by default start coming out of your addiction. For this reason, you as a student should find offline activities that you enjoy as this will help you engage yourself outside your world of phones.
Practise Mindful Phone Usage
Ultimately, as students one needs self-realisation that a cell phone is supposed to be means of making our lives easier and not the opposite. Active realisation and mindful practices towards ensuring that we use our phones for the purpose that they are supposed to instead of letting them control us and our health, is the best way to overcome phone addiction.
To put it in a nutshell, the problem of phone addiction in students is growing and it has a hold on students which can have severe repercussions. However, not all is bad as one can get themself out of this situation by following the strategies above and constantly working towards improving themselves.