Nomophobia, reasons and solutions | By Prof Abdul Shakoor Shah

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Nomophobia, reasons and solutions

THE world saw the first iPhone in 2007, Smartphone usage has progressively become an accepted part of our daily life and the Smartphone addiction statistics prove it.

Now, in 2022, we are glued to our phones.Smartphone addiction can result in sleep deficiency, increased stress levels, melancholy and disquiet.

66% of the world population shows signs of nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone.

The average time spent on Smartphone a day is 2 hours and 51 minutes.The average Smartphone owner will click, tap or swipe their phone 2,617 times a day.

When leaving their phones at home, 50% of respondents feel uneasy.26% of accidents involving cars are caused by cell phone use while driving.

While 58% of Smartphone users have admitted to trying to limit their device usage, only 41% succeeded in lessening their cell phone addiction.

87% of Smartphone users check their device within an hour of going to sleep or waking up.

69% of Smartphone users check their device within the first five minutes of waking up in the morning.

Almost 40% of all consumers and 60% of 18-to 34-year-olds admit to using their phones too much.

On average, people will spend 5 years and four months of their lifetimes on social media. Compared to teens that only spend an hour on electronic devices daily, teens who spend five or more hours a day on electronic devices are 71% more likely to exhibit suicide risk factors.

47% of parents surveyed believe their child has a Smartphone addiction.67% teachers noticed their students being negatively distracted by mobile devices.

In the 18 to 29 year old age category, 22% of Smartphone using respondents admitted to checking their device every few minutes.

36% of millennials say they spend two or more hours per workday. Adults spend an average of 45 minutes a day on social media alone.

Rather than in-person interaction, 33% of teens spend more time socializing with close friends online.

52% of teens sit for long periods of time in silence, on their smart phones, while hanging out with friends.

On average, Smartphone owners unlock their phones 150 times a day.Over 50% of Smartphone owners never switch off their phone.

71% of Smartphone owners sleep with or next to their mobile phone on a typical night. 40% of adults check their phones while they’re using the bathroom.

The average Smartphone user checks their phone 63 times a day. 86% of Smartphone users will check their device while in conversations with friends and family.

There was a 39% increase in daily hourly Smartphone use in 2020 due to covid-19. Try limiting the time spent on your Smartphone by using an app that tracks your daily usage and sends reminders to log off.

You can also access your average screen time in the settings of your phone. Another trick that helps limit Smartphone use is to turn your colour settings to black and white.

Late night scrolling isn’t as stimulating when you’re seeing black and white visuals, which encourages putting down your device.

Make zones of your house “no phone zones,” or set limits on the hours of the day they’re allowed to use their phones.

The best way to counteract mindless scrolling is with mindful scrolling.Set times each day or week to look at your Smartphone and really focus on it.

Studies have found mindfulness to be very effective in treating addictions.Most addictions are associated with a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

The solution is simple, turn off all the notifications, except perhaps the ones you need to stay employed, and the ringer for when your mother calls.

Silo off parts of your home where your phone is not physically proximate, such as the dinner table and the bedroom.

People often get addicted to the phone because they want to escape from reality, gain social karma, cope with stress caused by social anxiety and low self-esteem, follow their greed for social validation, likes, and other types of rewards, or play rewarding games.

The constant flow of digital rewards and information can pull a person into addiction and day-to-day difficulties can push a person toward addiction.

Social media addiction usually comes down to these “internet reward points.” You spend continuous hours on the phone.

You frequently pick up the phone without any aim to check for notifications or see if something has changed in your social feeds.

You get restless if your phone is dead or has low-battery, is out-of-coverage, or low on data/balance.

You treat your phone as a security blanket without which you get uncomfortable in social gatherings.

Your day-to-day activities take a backseat, relationships are strained, and you can’t focus and commit to the important things in your life.

You feel bad about yourself and you go online to feel good but you end up feeling worse looking at what others are doing.

Social needs are not met.Inability to feel pleasure and excitement in the offline world, almost 6.4 billion people (81% population) use a Smartphone in 2021.

Phone addiction can cause poor cognitive performance in day-to-day life.That means poor attention, poor memory, poor reasoning skills, bad decision-making, etc.

One of the main reasons is poor sleep which disrupts overall cognitive functioning.Addiction can disturb sleep and sleep worsens cognitive performance.

Interrupt your habitual routine The context in which the habit occurs – Identify how your mood is when you get into the phone-use black hole and do an activity that changes the mood.

Instead of sitting and scrolling, start cleaning up or begin work, and occasionally take a phone break.

Identify the triggers and immediately distract yourself, change the room, go for a bath, etc. Change your self-talk about phone addiction.

For example – If you have a habit of staring at your phone right after writing an email, change the context by doing a physical stretch.

Continuous short-interval phone checking may have a lot to do with what you are expecting out of phone usage.

It would help to introspect and ask yourself what you expect.Replace your first habitual phone routine with something else.

If to-do stuff is too bland for you, replace it with 5 affirmations.Delete apps if there is something particular that triggers usage. You could also keep your phone away.

Categorize your phone activities and assign a time per activity Figure out and work on your social needs Manage your need for distractions and stimulation Whenever you are hanging out with your friends and all show excessive phone use, put an alarm on your phone and observe a phone-down routine.

—The writer is an educationist, based in Lahore.

 

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