Addiction can come in many forms, alcohol addiction, gambling addiction – but smartphone addiction? Is that really a thing? Yes, it is and you may not even realise that you are addicted – I didn’t realise I was. Not until I took a step back and looked at myself. Many of us use smartphones every day. Whether that’s to keep in touch with loved ones, check your social media, taking photographs of your food, whatever, I won’t judge you. The question you have to ask yourself is “could you live without your phone?”
I am addicted to my smartphone, I am an addict, I can openly admit that and I’m not ashamed. The first thing I do when I wake up after turning the alarm on my phone off is scroll through twitter. I literally spend about 5 minutes before I drag myself to the shower just scanning my news feed. I tell my partner I do this to wake my brain up – by reading something, it gets my brain working and that could be somewhat true, but it’s not the reason I do it. I do it because I want to, because I need to, because that’s my routine.
I used to be a smoker and the first thing I’d want to do when I got in my car, to drive to the office, was to have a cigarette. Again it’s a routine I had and that was one of the smokes I enjoyed most on a day. The analogy with smartphone use is the same.
When I quit smoking, I had help from the health service. The smoking counsellor asked me to write down all the cigarettes I had in a day and simply rate them a 1 or 2. The cigarettes labelled 2 where the ones I really enjoyed and couldn’t give up and a 1s being ones I enjoyed less so. I decided to try this with my phone, I’d take a note of every time I used my phone, whether that was texting, calling or looking at social media and I’d rate them a 1 or a 2. By the end of the almost every rating was a 2.
“I needed to send this text; so that’s a 2” I’d tell myself. I quickly learned just how much I relied on my phone and I also learned a lot about myself. Almost all of my social interaction, my diary entries, tracking my freelance work all needed my phone. I was addicted and some could say for good reason – my work, my friends, and my life where all in this electronic device, the same device that woke me up on a morning and started my day.
The times we live in I think most of us probably have an addiction to our smartphone and if anything, I’m proof we do. So I ask you what’s the first thing you do on a morning? I would hazard a guess it involves your smartphone. Next time you pick up your device, think about how your day would be without it. Think about buying an alarm clock and think about buying a paper diary. Technology has made our lives so much easier, but who could have guessed it would have us addicted?