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How to Break Smartphone Addiction and Better Your Digital Wellbeing With Reading

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Today, a person’s smartphone is the tool they use the most throughout the day. From managing their calendar, checking their email, and texting a funny gif to a friend, their phone is something they can’t live without. Some people can go throughout their day without checking their cell phone, but for a vast majority of the population, they struggle to put the phone down. Scientists call the fear of being without a cell phone as Nomophobia, and the stats are scary. Take a look at the facts of smartphone use and how you can improve your digital well being.

The stats don’t lie

A report that reviewed the statistics from 2018 to 2019 shows how cell phone dependence is increasing. The average person checks their phone 63 times a day and spends roughly 171 minutes on their smartphone alone. That number rises to 261 minutes when you include spending time on both a smartphone and a tablet.  In that period, the average user spends 76 minutes on social media. When you start to add everything up, that’s a lot of time spent on a smartphone!

Smartphone dependence and the impact on life

Studies show that those who spend too much time on their smartphones and tablets have an increased risk in suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and they even sleep worse than those who spend less time on their phones. This number goes up in children and teens, impacting their attention span and performance in school. Worse yet, the stats of teens who self harm themselves as a result of too much time on a smart device is at an alarmingly all-time high and is something society as a whole needs to address. 

What you can do to help yourself

Luckily, with some help and determination, those addicted to their smartphones can change their behavior. Customizing notifications can help you to determine when it is a good idea to check your phone. Have a notification for a text message that is separate than the notification for an email. Even better, snooze notifications or change how often you receive them. Many apps will alert you of random nonsense that draws you to your phone, and then you’re hooked. Shut off any alerts you don’t care to see or are unimportant to you. There are even ways to temporarily shut off notifications so that when you’re away on vacation, you’re truly away. 

Other apps that can help

Sounds contradictory to use apps when trying not to use your phone, but stay with us on this. Apps like Moment and Space track how often you are using your device. Once you know, you can use these apps to set goals, or in the case of Moment, it forces you off your phone giving you all sorts of annoying notifications if you do try to extend the amount of time on it. An even more aggressive app is Flipd. Flipd allows you to lock your phone for a period of time. Once you do, you can’t unlock it until that time is up. Restarting your phone won’t unlock it, so you’re stuck until the app allows you back in. 

How reading can help

Reading or learning to speed read is one way to improve your digital wellbeing. The question becomes, whether it is a good idea to read off of a tablet. With a tablet, you have an entire library worth of books to download and start reading without leaving the comfort of the couch. A tablet makes it more tempting to exit out of the book you’re reading and transition to the world wide web. Whereas if you read a physical book, you can set the smartphone or tablet in the other room and focus on what you’re reading. By giving yourself a break from technology and spending time with a book, you strengthen your brain’s “muscles” and decrease the risk of the psychological effects of nomophobia.

Changing a habit is difficult. There are many books available that can help get you on the right path to breaking smartphone addiction. In a previous article, Best Books on Changing Habits That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals we discovered the best influencers on habit and their books. We encourage you to take a look for further advice on what you can do to change bad habits for the better. 

With patience, support, and reading, you can improve your digital wellbeing!

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