Smartphones have taken the world with a storm and have affected our daily lifestyle drastically. Generation Z of today cannot imagine a life without an iPhone or an android phone. They often wonder how we, the millennials or older, use to live without smartphones. I recently surveyed LinkedIn to identify the number of hours people spend on their mobile phones (smartphones). Three hundred seventy-nine (379) people participated in the survey from different locations and varied professions. The results were as follows:
As shown above, 218 individuals out of 379 stated that they use mobile phones for more than 4 hours a day, i.e., approximately 58%. Therefore, the survey shows that a considerable amount of your daily time, i.e., about 17%, is spent using mobile phones. Suppose we narrow it down further and assume that an average individual sleeps for 8 hours of 24 hours. In that case, approximately 25% of the daily active time is spent using mobile phones. Oops, that’s alarming!
The history of smartphones is not that old; Apple introduced the first iPhone In 2007, followed by Google who launched its first android phone in October 2008. So the introduction of smartphones is only 14 – 15 years old. However, its impact reach and penetration into our lives has grown exponentially.
Impact of excessive screen time
Too much screen has many physical and psychological impacts, some of which are listed below:
• Obesity – The more time you spent sitting and watching your mobile phones reduces, the more time a healthy individual spends on physical activity. The lack of physical activity has increased obesity in both adults and especially children.
• Sleep disorder – Most of the time spent on mobiles is free from their daily routine. However, the light emitted from mobile devices interferes with the brain’s sleep cycle. It can prevent getting a good night’s sleep.
• Neck and Back pain – The posture while using the mobile phone can result in chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. Unfortunately, people usually ignore the stance that they are in a while enjoying their time using smartphones.
• Depression and anxiety – The excessive use of mobile phones results in personality disorder. The excessive use of smartphones negatively affects your mental and emotional wellbeing. The common behavioral issues include lack of patience, anger, feeling lonely, etc.
How to cope with the excessive screen time
Doctors and psychologists suggest several strategies to improve your use of technologies. Some of these strategies include:
Inbuilt apps – Many androids and iPhone devices come with built-in apps to monitor your digital wellbeing. Use the app to monitor your daily screen time. It always provides you a list of apps where you spend most of your time.
Unplug social media – I tried this, and it works wonders. I uninstall some widely used social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, messenger, etc. It reduced my daily mobile usage to half.
Enroll in physical activities – Outdoor sports activities are always helpful in spending your time. You can join a gym or any other club for outdoor sports activities such as football, swimming, etc.
Discipline – Set a daily time when you are entirely cut off from your mobile phones. This can be your eating time (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), an hour before you sleep, praying time, and other family time when you all sit together and engage with each other.
Role model – If you are a parent or an elder in the house whom others look at as a role model, make sure you lead by example. Your mobile phone usage will not only hamper your health negatively but also others in the house.
Knowing how much time you spend on smartphones is essential, and you cannot address a problem until you identify as one. Try to adopt healthier smartphone habits, allowing you to enjoy the best of what technology has to offer without negatively affecting your life.