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Addiction To Your Smartphone!

A smart cell phone is on my bed stand just in case I get an emergency call from work during the night. Would I not hear the phone ringing if it was 20 feet away from my ear? I wake up in the morning and the first thing that I do is look at the messages from the family members and likes on social media. Although I love wishing my family good morning, I am appalled at myself for checking Instagram.


Smartphones have helped us by providing necessary information on our fingertips, but this technology has robbed us from establishing genuine human connections with our family members, friends, co-workers, and communities.


A few things that I miss the most pre-smartphones are as follows:


1.      When family members and guests came to visit, they did not sit on the sofa or on the dining table with their appendage demanding their constant attention. We didn’t spend time scrolling what Facebook, TikTok, Google, or Apple thought was important. These companies know the addictive nature of smartphones which has decreased face-to-face interactions.


The number of “Friends”,  “Followers” and “Likes” on social media should not determine our self-worth. Every time we see a “like” for something that we posted, dopamine level in our brain goes up. Over time we become addicted because we need higher and higher levels of the happy chemicals. This addiction is not any different than being addicted to alcohol or drugs.


Every time we see others having a fantastic time at a restaurant, on a vacation, and so on, our first thought is to compare ourselves to their happy lives. We forget that this is staged to get the maximum number of “likes”. What happened to good old boasting verbally to show ourselves off?


2.      There was a time when we looked at a paper map before going on road trips. We plotted the route that we would take, the cities we would pass, and learnt the names of the counties/countries which surrounded our destination. Yes, we got lost often, but we built neuron connections by learning new geographies. How many young people even know how to read a paper map?


When we travelled, we spent time looking at the scenery instead of focusing on what we could film for social media. Photography was art left to a few. We didn’t do fact checking of what another member of our travel party had just said during a casual conversation to prove them wrong – a new form of passive aggressiveness that is taking hold now. We had genuine conversations. We held and read a book. We recited poetry and sang songs. We told funny stories about anything and everything. We played “I spy” and cards. We drove the parents crazy by asking, “How much longer?” We drove the parents crazy by playing with noisy toys. We created everlasting memories.


3.      We knew many more phone numbers by heart instead of relying on what was programmed in our phones. This kept our brains sharp. We relied on our memory for a lot of information.


Smartphones and technology are here to stay. But we can decide how much of our mental health we want to hand to companies who are using us as their product to make billions.  We can decide how much of our life we want to spend becoming addicted to what they are selling. We can determine if meaningful human connections are important to us.


Let us catch ourselves by establishing some healthy habits when it comes to smartphones and associated technology.

For me, these healthy habits are as follows: 1) put the smartphone away from my nightstand so that I can hear it ring but not have it accessible from my bed; 2) not look at Instagram more than once a day to get started with the intention of reducing it even further and finally eliminating it; 3) cancel my TikTok account - done; 4) do not get roped into creating more videos and connecting with more people as frequently suggested by Mr. IG; 5) put away my phone for real face-to-face time with my family; 6) encourage people to call me instead of texting if it is anything urgent; 7) make myself call people more instead of texting them; and 8) eventually switch to a flip phone.


What are your thoughts on this topic?


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