Sir, I’m Going to have to Ask You to Put the Phone Down…

Hey y’all, it’s Jesse again! Remember me? If not, well I am thoroughly crushed. Last time I wrote about Nomophobia, or the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact. I’m sure many of you were able to relate, judging by what most of my friends had to say about the blog; but this week is going to be a little spin off of that. Just like many other substances, computer technologies can be addictive because they are “Psychoactive,” or alter a person’s mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings. So, that happy feeling you get in your heart when your phone is buzzing in your pants…that’s psychoactive! This is the same effect that substances like drugs and alcohol can have on a person. Fortunately, nomophobia isn’t as harmful on the body as many of the other drugs, but it still has social and economic impacts on a person’s life. Looking to bite the bullet and finally kick the habit? Well look no further, here are Jesse’s top five ways to help treat your nomophobia.

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  • Start tracking your cell phone use. Many of us probably have absolutely no idea how much time we actually spend on our phones each day. According to Student Science, the average college student spends about nine hours each day on his or her smartphone. Considering that this is more than most of us probably sleep, you can start to see how this could be an issue. According to Pscyhcentral, 8 percent of smartphone users experience monthly bills that are over $500 due to excessive usage. Many of you might be thinking “no, there is absolutely no way that I spend 9 hours on my phone each day.” Well, start tracking your phone time and tell me how that goes. You wake up and check your phone for 15 minutes before you get out of bed, go to the bathroom and check Tinder for any new matches for 10 minutes, eat breakfast while scrolling through Facebook and Twitter for 20 minutes, listen to music and snap your friends while getting ready for a minimum of 15 minutes. Surprise, an hour of your day has been spent on your phone before you have even left the house. Keeping track of your smart phone usage will allow you to fully understand how attached you really are and might just be the slap in the face you need to get this ball rolling!
  • Turn it off! Yes, I said it. Turn it off. Many times throughout the day when you know that there is absolutely no need for you to be on your phone, just turn it off and leave it alone. Many people, including myself, insist on being on our phones while driving. Yes, I realize I’m swerving, but I do it anyway. I realize this may be easier said than done because I can’t actually remember the last time I physically turned off my phone, but in the 10 minutes it takes you to drive from home to school or home to work, you can probably stand to turn off your phone. Ding! You just woke up at 2 in the morning because someone tagged you in a Facebook post. Now, you’re scrolling through your feed at the same stuff you just looked at 2 hours ago hoping to see something new. Now, you can’t fall back asleep because you’re thinking about how good Jimmy looked in his new profile picture, but who’s that bitch beside him? Are they dating? Just think, this all could have been avoided if you would have turned off your phone before going to bed.
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  • Start unfollowing unnecessary people from Facebook and Twitter. Removing unnecessary friends is an easy way to reduce the amount of time you’re spending creeping on your best friend’s cousin’s fiancé, Felicia. According to SocialTimes, the average user spends about 1.72 hours each day on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Much of this time is spent scrolling through random peoples posts and comments that you no longer know or ever actually knew. Removing these unnecessary people from your feed will actually reduce the amount of time you spend on your social apps resulting in less overall cell phone time!
  • Put the phone down! Try to think about the last time you made it through a dinner with your family or friends without checking your phone numerous times. It’s probably pretty difficult. Unfortunately, people seem to be more interested in their cyber-relationships than the relationships they have with their real friends. One easy and simple technique that you and your friends may use when out to dinner is a technique that my friends and I have started using and it actually works! Phone Stacking has become a popular way for many people to make it through dinner without touching their phones because it’s fun and beneficial at the same time. Each person at the table must take their phone out and stack them on top of each other in the middle of the table (Leaving it in your pocket also works if you don’t want someone to know your texting Tina). The first person at the table to grab their phone has to pick up the tab for the entire table. Since nobody probably wants to pay for you meal, nobody touches their phone. Pretty simple, right? Another way to combat the urge to check your phone is by actually using your phone. New apps have been created that are designed to help the user reduce the amount of time they spend touching their phone. The Downside App allows all of the individuals at a table to log in with their friends and place their phone upside down on the table. The first person to touch their phone will lose and have to buy a round for the entire table, or for the younger crowd maybe the appetizer. Simple tricks like these will help you deter that bad habit of reaching for your phone every time you feel an awkward silence coming.
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  • Use your phone as a reward. Many of us are so quick to immediately respond to that person that just texted us when it’s totally unnecessary. You, along with the other person, could stand to wait 10 or 20 minutes between responses. This would actually allow you to do something productive in that time instead of being constantly distracted. This technique can actually be thought of in terms of delayed gratification. If you are unfamiliar, delayed gratification is the process of controlling impulse to receive a greater reward. So, in texting terms, waiting to respond for 10 minutes before texting your friend back will actually give you more satisfaction because you are prolonging the excitement of what the text might say. This technique can also be used to help accomplish goals. Every time I am at the gym running, I always seem to get a notification halfway through my run, but I tell myself that I am not allowed to check the notification until my run is over. This actually drives me to keep running because I want to be able to check my phone. Using this reward system over time can actually lead to contingency management, or the chance of a certain behavior occurring again. In terms of my working out, rewarding myself with phone use causes me to want to complete my workout fully and get into the routine of that instead of breaking up my workout with phone breaks.  Expanding this technique to numerous activities of the day, such as homework, could allow people to actually accomplish what they wanted to.
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Now that you have made it through my five stages of curing your addiction, I must remind you that not all of these are actually going to work perfectly for every person and they are not actually diagnosed treatments for nomophobia. Nomophobia is best treated by numerous self-help strategies, like the examples I provided above. There are many different things a person can do that I did not include in here and maybe you don’t agree with one of these. Well that’s okay, they are just some simple tips that will help you put down your phone and regain that social life that you once had with your real friends and help you avoid becoming this mom…

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Until next time my friends!

Jesse

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