Are you a certified smartphone addict? While there’s no doubting the fact that smartphones have made our lives both easier and more productive, there are also some downsides of being a certified smartphone addict.
A new report has emerged from the US claiming that on average, American check their smartphone more than 262 times every day. We’re going to unpack that research so you can compare your usage with their statistics and see whether or not you’re a certified smartphone addict.
We’ll also cover some strategies to help you reduce your usage and curb any habits you might have that could impact your productivity and the quality of your sleep.
First up, let’s cover some of the more novel statistics relating to smartphone usage and human behavior becoming increasingly intertwined. The study took responses from more than 1,000 Americans aged over 18, who were asked to report their screen time and break down how they were using their smartphones throughout the day.
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Just under half of the survey’s respondents said that they’re “addicted to their cell phones,” with another 43% saying their smartphone is their single-most important possession. 83% said that they feel “uneasy” about leaving their phone at home, while 54% said they feel a sense of panic when their battery dips below 20%.
- 52% responded that they’ve never gone longer than 24 hours without their smartphone in their possession, and 46% said they feel stressed while watching someone use their phone.
- Americans check their phone 262 times per day; once every 5-minutes
- 48% say they’re addicted to their smartphone
- 40% use their phone while driving
- 70% use their phone on the toilet
- 80% check their phone within the first 10 minutes of waking up
- 62% sleep with their smartphone
- 46% spent more time on their phone than with their spouse
How Long Do People Spend On Their Smartphones Each Day?
In total, respondents of this survey averaged 3 hours and 19 minutes of smartphone use each day, which is higher than the average amount of time published in a report earlier this year of 2 hours and 51 minutes. Broken down by activities, users averaged around one hour and 29 minutes on social media, one hour and 14 minutes playing games, and 36 minutes making calls and texting. Interestingly, respondents said they were spending more than 50-minutes each day on their phone shortly before bed, which has an impact over the quality of our sleep patterns.
Authors of the report say that while we tend to think our smartphones are a source of connection and productivity, “most people spend most of their time scrolling social media, playing games, or using other apps.” Texting and phone calls amounted to less than 30-minutes of smartphone activity, according to the report.
Authors of the report say that “we all have some kind of love affair with our smartphones. We pour time, energy, and love into our devices, and isn’t that a definition of love? Thankfully, most people accept being in an open relationship with their partner and their smartphones.”
“As long as people don’t look at their phones while driving and balance time between smartphone use and real-person interaction, there’s no reason why we can’t keep this beautiful thing going,” they wrote.
How To Recognise Whether You’re a Certified Smartphone Addict
Helpguide has provided a number of ‘warning signs’ for whether or not you’re addicted to your smartphone, which includes monitoring any signs of withdrawal when you do not have your device in your possession.
- Difficulty completing tasks at home or work, including household chores like laundry and dinner preparation.
- Isolation from friends and family.
- Concealing smartphone reliance
- Experiencing a fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO
- Feeling anxiety when you have misplaced your smartphone for a short period of time.
Signs of smartphone withdrawal include restlessness, anger or irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, as well as a sense of craving your smartphone or electronic devices.
Simple Ways to Reduce Your Smartphone Use
That same report from Helpguide lists a number of strategies we can deploy to reduce our reliance on smartphones, and curb any sense of anxiety when we don’t have it in our immediate possession. These include:
- Setting goals when you can and cannot use your smartphone
- Turning off our phones while we’re driving, in a meeting, eating dinner or sleeping
- Don’t take your smartphone to bed
- Try substituting your smartphone for a book, meditation session, exercise or time with friends and family
- Remove social media applications from your phone; or at least your home screen
- Limit yourself to checking your phone once every 15-30 minutes
- Accept that limiting smartphone use might result in missing out on important updates; learn to live with being comfortable with your fear of missing out
Tips for Parents to Address Smartphone Addiction in Children
The report also mentions strategies you can deploy to monitor your child’s smartphone use, as well as signs to recognise that your child might be developing an addiction to their device. These guidelines include:
- Being a good role model; that means using your smartphone less, too
- Use applications to monitor your child’s smartphone use; limit access to certain sites and apps that are not productive
- Create a smartphone-free zone at the dinner table, or in their bedroom
- Talk to your children about the risks of smartphone addiction
- Encourage your child to join a sports club, or take up a hobby together
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