Weirdly, Using Apps Can Help Curb Your Phone Addiction

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Americans are paying more attention to their gadgets more than ever.  Several studies and surveys have examined the impact of smartphones, tablets, and other devices on children.  But, adults are no less immune to the lure of electronics.

A survey by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media reveals that six in ten parents think that their children are addicted to their smartphones.  That perception might be accurate, considering that five in ten teenagers admit an addiction to their devices.

However, almost three in ten teenagers also believe that their parents are always hooked to their phones as well.  In terms of hourly usage, there is a slight gap between children and their parents.  For instance, 69 percent of adults check their phones hourly while 78 percent of kids do so every sixty minutes.

According to a study from dscout, an average smartphone user will tap his or her device 2,617 times in twenty-four hours.  However, one in ten people will touch them 5,427 times in the same span, which translates to 2.42 hours daily.  Those who are really obsessed with their phones use the gadget for around four hours every day.

The same study says that the average person will likely participate in seventy-six different sessions on their phones each day.  If you are using your phone for 132 different sessions, then you are considered a heavy user.  Long sessions that last for hours at a time, meanwhile, are rare and mostly involve reading items or watching Netflix and YouTube clips.  For the most part, people use their phones to text, call, send email, or browse their social media.

While the amount of time people spend on their phone plunges past midnight, it does not mean that they do not have their gadgets at their bedside.  In fact, more than eight in ten people still check their phones way past their bedtimes, even at 3:00 a.m.  The study reveals that many people touch their phones at least once between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Apps to Help Curb Your Addiction

Turning to smartphones to curb addictions to the very same devices might not seem to make a lot of sense at first.  But, even detox procedures use substitute medications to taper clients off the effects of drugs and ease the pains of withdrawal.  Going cold turkey for people addicted to their smartphones may be counterproductive. Instead, they might want to consider using these apps:

  • App Usage – Allows users to accurately track the amount of time they spend on their phones and the type of activities they perform on the phones. The app also counts the number of times users check their phones each day.  Lastly, it can also suggest if users are using their phones too much.
  • AppDetox­­­ – Helps people control the use of some apps in their phones. One of its features can block people from accessing particular apps after they exceed the number of hours of usage that have set for themselves.
  • UBhind – Illustrates how people are using their phones and its apps. It can compare daily usage and show patterns in phone usage. After all, many people do not believe that they are heavy phone users until the stats stare back at them.
  • Flipd – Enables users to become more productive by putting down their phones. It helps users become more aware regarding their phone usage and motivates them to spend more time away from their gadgets.  It locks phones at designated times, which forces people to make better use of their time.
  • Off Time — Takes back control of phones so that the gadgets do not control lives. This app helps users achieve more balance in the ways they allocate time in a day.  This can help them focus on their work, families, and even themselves.  This tool can help people get a better grip on their phone habits.  Users can also block some contacts from calling and texting them.
  • QualityTime – Gives in-depth, baseline statistics to help users control their electronic addictions. It presents results in clear-to-read and easy-to-navigate logs, which track time hourly, daily, and weekly.  It allows people to set parameters in their phone usage.
  • BreakFree – Calculates an “addiction score” that presents the number of times people checked their phones and the apps that they have used. With the daily logs, you can set challenges for yourself to curb your phone addiction.
  • Forest – Provides a fun way to limit phone usage and increase productivity. It compares productivity to planting and growing trees.  The more productive users are, the more trees they plant and the more their trees will grow.  If successful, users can cultivate their own forests.  The app is a self-motivating tool that can help people wean themselves from their phones.

What are the Signs of Smartphone Addiction?

Parents need to know what to look for to determine if they need help to curb their children’s phone addiction.  They might want to ask themselves:

  • Do they check their phones when they wake up or before going to sleep?
  • Do they use their phones because they are bored?
  • Do they fiddle with their phones even when people are talking to them?
  • Do they lash out when you take away their phones?
  • Do they become fidgety, anxious, or uncomfortable when they do not have their phones?
  • Do they always check their bags or pockets for their phones even when they do not intend to use them?
  • Do you notice that their phone usage has increased more and more each day?
  • Do people already complain about their phone usage?
  • Do they have the ability to stop using phones for long periods?
  • Do they need to check their phones immediately after hearing notifications for text messages or social media apps?
  • Does their phone usage already affect their social life? Do you notice failing grades or low grades?

Risks of Phone Addiction

For obvious reasons, being on your phone so much can eventually affect your relationship with your family, friends, and acquaintances.  It can also affect your performance in school or at work because you are more concerned about checking your phone than fulfilling other responsibilities.

Using phones can also expose yourself to unnecessary risks.  For instance, a survey by the Pew Research Center revealed that almost five in ten adults (47 percent) have sent or read text messages while they were driving.  Meanwhile, 35 percent of sixteen-year-olds and seventeen-year-olds of have texted while behind the wheel.

Using the phone at other times can also be dangerous.  Pedestrians distracted by their electronic devices have crossed the street despite “Don’t Walk” signals, been hit by vehicles, and even fallen into holes because they were not paying attention.

In addition, saying that compulsive electronic use is addictive might be accurate in a number of ways.  When they are separated for their phones for a long time, avid electronics users have reported that they experience symptoms similar to alcohol or drug withdrawal, such as anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, depression, and grief.  Researchers have found a correlation between gadgets usage and mental illness, including an increase in depressive symptoms.

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Almost eight in ten Americans today are owners of smartphones.  That is a massive increase from just the 35 percent who owned one in 2011.  More than nine in ten of adults who are eighteen to twenty-nine years old own a smartphone, so imagine the health and social issues that could result if a good number of them become addicted to devices?

Author Bio

Charles Watson is a freelance writer who specializes in health and technology.  Currently he publishes for Sunshine Benefit Health, and can be reached directly on Twitter at @CharlesWatson00.

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