In the digital age, everyone should be aware of the dangers of smartphone addiction, and the signs they need to look out for when our time spent on our devices, becomes overwhelming.
As mums, we need to be aware of the signs of smartphone addiction and have the tools a detox when we feel the need.
there is no escaping smartphones, unless you make the choice to, if not, then we need to remain in control of our screen time, and more importantly, how much we are holding our phones in our hands.
We need to know when to ask ourselves, do I need a smartphone detox?
these symptoms will show up even more when you try and DITCH THE SMARTPHONE!
- Do I feel a lack of direction if I don’t have access to my device?
- Am I distracted often?
- Do I struggle to focus on a given task? ( especially one at a time)
- do I feel anxious without my phone?
- Am I reacting to stressors worse than usual?
- Is my sleep pattern disturbed?
- Do I react with anger when told I am spending too much time on my phone?
What are the signs of excessive smartphone use?
- Are you easily distracted from a task?
- Do you often feel irritated at having to stop what you are doing on your phone to talk to someone or listen?
- Are you struggling to keep up with daily tasks?
- Do you feel listless without your phone?
- Do you rely on music, podcasts or videos to help you focus?
- Do you find it stressful to think of a day or two without your phone?
- Are your children mimicking your device use habits?
- Is your quality time with children, husband or hobbies being overtaken by your device?
- Do you take your phone to bed with you?
- Do you look at your phone in the morning before doing anything else?
if you answered any of these, you could be spending too much time on your phone.
smartphones are great tools, we can accept that they can make our lives better, and easier.
But they can be bad for us.
- Bad for mothers,
- Making friends
- Overcoming social anxiety
- Emotional connection
- Critical thinking
- Communication skills
- And more.
to be honest, as time goes on, the cons outweigh the pros if you become too attached to your device.
Strategies to help you control device usage.
Now you can go extreme, and ditch the smartphone for a dumbphone.
A dumbphone is an old phone we used to use, a flip phone, or a brick, the unbreakable keeps its charge for days, mobile is used for necessities only.
Something I am thinking of doing is buying a dumbphone to keep in my home.
So that when I feel like have been using my smartphone too much, I can switch out the sim into the dumbphone and take a week or two to detox from the apps and blue light that our brains become addicted to.
so, that’s an idea. keep a dumbphone handy, you can grab one online, and use it to help you remove the temptation of the smartphone.
however, there are still strategies you can apply to control your smartphone use.
Cull your apps
If you are struggling to control social media use, or search engines like Pinterest. then you can remove the apps.
Removing the apps from your phone is a sure way to stop the scrolling and time wasting.
You may find that you will pick up your phone only to realise there is nothing that you can scroll, and put it back down, you may be shocked at how many times you do this in a day.
Set a focus.
you can go to your phone’s settings and ( in iPhone) set a focus, this means you can add a schedule and choose apps to receive notifications from. from 7 am to 7 pm, I do not receive notifications from anything other than my calendar, texts and phone calls.
In other phones, this will be in the settings under, “digital wellbeing” or “notifications”
Monitor your screen time
you don’t need an app anymore for this.
almost all phones in the last 5 years come with a screen time monitor.
go to your settings and search screen time.
aim for less than an hour a day while you are detoxing, and trust me, the first week is a little icky, you may feel restless.
keep an eye all the time on your screen time, and have a look at the breakdown it gives for what you are using on your device the most.
Create a block schedule
I mention this step a lot.
This can be effective enough in itself if you have some willpower.
set yourself rules around blocks of time in your day.
if you wake up at 7, make the rule of no phones from 7 to 11. that is a time block. call it your morning block.
then you may make phone calls, answer texts, or spend time organising play dates, making notes in your calendar or printing out recipes. this is your lunch block.
Then from 1 pm to 4 pm, put your phone into focus mode, and choose the apps you need notifications from.
if you are a mum with young kids, this is the time when they may nap, or have a quiet time.
this is a tempting time to spend on your device, and don’t get me wrong, some days, if you are tired and have the time to spend sitting and not thinking for a while go ahead.
But, time can often get away, and we can waste the time we could have to think, read, and spend time doing something good for our brains, souls and homes.
the evening is another time when we can abuse our devices, sacrificing sleep. again, this is why it can be good to delete social media apps or set a timer when you are using them.
No phones in the bedroom.
this is a rule you need to make for yourself if your device is stealing sleep.
if you understand blue light, and how it stops our ability to produce serotonin and therefore, melatonin for sleep.
Dopamine is associated with wakefulness. Drugs that increase dopamine levels, such as cocaine and amphetamines, typically increase alertness. what you also need to know is that smartphones or any devices with social media or gaming, cause a similar effect to that of cocaine in the brain, it’s VERY addictive,
when you take your phone to bed, you are increasing your dopamine before sleep, and raising your alertness.
Blue light from your device will also hinder the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that puts you to sleep.
If you don’t put your phone down until 10 pm, you won’t get restful deep sleep until 2-3 hours later, we need at least 8 hours of healing deep sleep a night.
Give yourself a day to indulge
Now this is only my experience, so I think you should approach this with your own opinions and there is a NOTE at the bottom.
I have a day, Friday usually, which in my home is known as cleaning day. The kids have a few extra jobs to do, and I get done the things I don’t have time to do during the week.
on this day I allow myself to indulge in listening to podcasts, having a show playing in the background, or catching on to the week’s YouTube videos while I clean and cook.
there are no time limits, I enjoy a movie after the kids are in bed, or we watch a movie as a family.
this is a day I look forward to, I like my podcasts, and my Agatha Christi series in the kitchen while I cook or sort out kids’ clothing.
Like a diet, I think allowing yourself to indulge once a week is the key to being consistent to a point.
If listening to podcasts or watching TV shows isn’t something you do on your device then perhaps this isn’t a good idea.
I want to stress the volume is low, and I am still present, if my kids need me I am there.
I wouldn’t spend an entire day on social media, it’s invasive on thoughts, time and productivity.
if you desire to catch up on social media, then set yourself an afternoon to do so, not an entire day.
Symptoms during a smartphone detox
the symptoms are the same as the addiction just WORSE.
when you begin a smartphone detox you will feel:
- Unable to focus.
- Irrational anger
these symptoms will leave you feeling absent like you are no longer in control of your time.
you will want to look at your phone, to check, this is a sign you are addicted to the dopamine your phone is creating in your brain, and you need to approach it like any other addiction.
it takes time, effort, and consistency.
and when you have a smartphone again, with all the apps, you will need to always remain in control.
if you use the above strategies, you will find it easier to stay in control of your smartphone usage.
here are some posts that might help you regain control of your time