Am I addicted to my smartphone?

Signs you’re addicted to using your phone

Did you know that there’s an app that helps you manage the time you spend on your phone? If you’ve downloaded this app already, then chances are that you are addicted to your smartphone. In fact, in today’s society, it’s almost impossible to be without one, and is even frowned upon in some circles. Now it’s one thing to use your phone for what it is intended, but where do you draw the line?

Here are a few signs that maybe you’re addicted to your smartphone.

You start panicking when you can’t find your phone or don’t have it with you

We’ve all experienced that heart-stopping moment when you pat your pockets or bag only to find that you’ve misplaced your phone. Some people take a second to realise it’s just a possession and you’ve probably left it at home, while others start screaming in a state of terror. If the idea of you leaving your phone somewhere makes you break out in a cold sweat, there’s a problem.

Your phone is right next to you when you sleep at night

Putting your phone on ‘do not disturb’ or ‘night mode’, and placing it away from you on your nightstand is acceptable. If you scroll through your apps late at night until you fall asleep with your phone in your hand, that’s a sign that you can’t switch off. Even placing your phone next to your pillow, and making sure it’s on ‘vibrate’ or ‘loud’ so that you’ll be able to hear it throughout the night is worrisome.

You use your phone in company

Whether you’re out to dinner with your friends or relaxing at a family function, it’s considered good etiquette not to be on your phone. There have been memes dedicated to using phones in public, but people simply cannot fight the urge to pick it up and check their Facebook notifications. Put it down when you’re around other people, and put it on silent or vibrate – don’t let your smartphone replace human interaction.

You make excuses for being on your phone

So people have already called you out on your phone usage… now come the excuses. Does this sound familiar? “I’m expecting an important work email”, “The babysitter might call” or “There may be an emergency”. Newsflash: you don’t have to have your phone in your hand to make these excuses plausible. If you really are concerned about something, put your phone on ‘loud’ mode so that you can hear it if it’s in your bag or pocket. Your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed will still be there a couple of hours later, so stop making excuses.

You refuse to send it in for repairs

A cracked screen, fuzzy audio and a defective lock button mean absolutely nothing to you. Nothing will stop you from using your phone. Sending your phone in for repairs just creates anxiety in your life; you’re plagued with questions like, “how long will they take?”, “what if they look at my feeds?”, “how will people contact me?” Relax. These days, repairers are so good at what they do that your phone won’t be gone for longer than a couple of days. I’m sure you have a spare.

You feel disappointment when you don’t receive notifications

If you require constant validation from your ‘online life’, and you fixate on your social media notifications, you should probably get some help. If you’ve been in a meeting or in a doctor’s office for an hour and return to no new notifications on your phone, and it makes you feel upset or angry, it’s a problem.

For more information about smartphone addiction and how to stop the habit, check out the medical research behind it.

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