7 Signs You’re Addicted to Your Phone…and Yourself

cell-phone-on-date

Before I say anything, let me just admit this out loud: I plead guilty.

 

 

The only reason I could even come up with a list of 7 different telltale signs of addictions for this topic is because I can relate to every. single. one.

 

 

Embarrassing, but true.

 

 

These 7 are probably the tip of the iceberg, but we’ve got to start somewhere…

 

 

1. You text {talk, surf, ect} while driving

 

distracted

 

 

While we’ve bought into the convenience factor of this, I cannot think of a more idiotic and dangerous thing to do behind the wheel than text. It seems almost laughable that we think this is okay. And it’s not just texting…talking on the phone sometimes has the same distracted results as texting does. And according to this survey, texting and driving is now the number one reasons teens die in car accidents, surpassing drunk driving.

 

To make matters worse, 70% of teens don’t think it’s a big deal and 55% say they’re good at it.

 

Lord helps us all.

 

 

 

2. You upload pictures or information “globally” before “locally”

 

There’s nothing like finding out your close friends or family are engaged, got a new job, heading into surgery, or any number of important life events through social media. Sure, it’s a quicker way to “get the word out,” but the feeling that you can be told something life changing at the same time as their old high school friends or people they haven’t talked to in 15 years isn’t a good one.

 

When I got engaged I waited to post it on Facebook until the next day, after I could make a few important phone calls and send a few texts to people that I wanted to hear about this exciting news right from me. The sad part? It was so hard to wait!

 

We have a reverse “need to know”  in which we cannot wait to tell everyone about everything. Even at the expense of our closest people finding out with the masses. Sorry mom, I’ll call you next time, but I just needed to see how many likes I could get on Facebook first…

 

 

 

3. You spend the first and last 30 minutes of your day checking your phone

 

phone-in-bed

 

 

You’re not even out of bed yet and you’ve checked your email, scrolled through your news feed, know exactly what the weather conditions are for the 6 surrounding counties… and you’ve sent 3 texts.

 

Sure, a lot of us use our phone as alarm clocks, but this kind of behavior–sleeping with our phones and using them as priority #1 to starting and ending our day–develops an unhealthy “on call” status. The ever so popular “but what if something happens?” seems to be  one of the reasons behind our 24/7 access. But I guarantee if something that bad is happening in the middle of the night, I should be WAY down on the call list. Behind 911, AAA and a variety of other qualified emergency response numbers.

 

We use the infrequency of emergency to justify our addiction to being connected. 

 

And I would venture to say that more than the pressure we put on ourselves to “be available”, we don’t realize the damage we are doing we are doing to ourselves by being overly connected. We probably start our day more stressed, and end our day lest restful than if we “unplugged”.

 

 

 

4. You don’t have any downtime from your phone

 

Downtime? What…you mean, like, when it updates with new software and you can’t use it for an hour? Or when it’s lost in the couch cushions and someone has to call it for you to find it?

 

No, I mean a time when the ringer is silenced, phone is turned off, or it’s just plain out of sight…on purpose.

 

I understand the use of phones for jobs, communication, and throughout the day. But unlike our jobs, we don’t leave our phones…ever. Not at home, not during dinner, not when out with friends, not when in the bathroom (gross).

 

When was the last time you left your phone at home and didn’t turn around to get it? Or didn’t have a panic attack when you realized you would be separated for the next 8 hours {or even just 3o minutes while you run to Meijer}? You won’t…and can’t…leave home–or the room–without it.

 

That’s a problem.

 

 

 

 

5. You check your phone while spending time with someone

phones

 

 

Isn’t that just called “getting lunch”?

 

It seems so normal to see two people at a table with one or both on their phones, that it’s easy to forget what good ol’ fashioned quality time looks like.

 

When is the last time you sat down with someone and no one touched their cell phone AT ALL? We have totally breezed over how incredibly rude it is to distract ourselves with our phones when we’re spending time with someone because everybody’s doing it.

 

I’m guilty, and I’m not proud of it. Recently I’ve started setting an alarm if I’m spending time with someone, but have to leave at a certain time. That way, my phone can be tucked away so I don’t have the temptation to respond to it while it’s sitting on the table so I can “watch the clock.”

 

 

And honestly, half the battle is simply the discipline of putting it away. Try it…it’s amazing how less distracting your phone is on silent in your pocket or your bag.

 

 

 

6. Your “traffic” directly affects your mood.

 

“Texting is instantly gratifying and highly anxiety producing. Instant connection can create elation and self-value only to be replaced by the devastation of no response, a late response, the misinterpretation of a punctuation mark, a sexually harassing text, a text sent to the wrong person or a text that is later regretted.”

 

Wow. All from a text?

 

It’s easy to not give much thought to what texting or Facebook does to our self-value and self-esteem, but there are literally thousands of studies done on this correlation. It matters to us, more than it probably should, and our mood fluctuates throughout the day because of something we can prevent.

 

 

 

7. You respond to texts or calls within the hour

 

Sure, sometimes that’s totally necessary. But what about the time you stopped in the middle of cooking dinner to wash your hands, grab your phone and text back ” haha 🙂 “? Or when you stopped mid-sentence, mid-project, or mid-thought to check your phone?

 

 

When did we get to a place where everything halts at the buzz of these small devices? Where our conversation pauses, our productivity slows down, and whatever we’re doing takes a back seat to whatever information has just come through on our phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem, I believe, is not the incoming information, but the outgoing.

 

 

I think a large part of our willingness to let our phone rule our attention and our time is the belief that we are very important. Someone needs our thoughts, our attention, our response, and we buy into our importance at the cost of everyone else’s.

 

We traded our manners for a smartphone, and we’re okay with it.

 

I truly believe we as a society have become egocentric beyond recognition. Our need to be connect and also noticed has spun out of control. It causes us to be strapped to our electronic devises, rude to nearly everyone we come in contact with and the worst part…it’s the norm.

 

 

But it doesn’t have to be.

 

 

We get to decide when and why we use technology. We get to decide if and how we respond to the demands that flood our tiny screen. We can control our wifi, or we can be controlled–it’s totally up to us.

 

 

 

 

What would happen if we used technology, enjoying it, but with boundaries and self-control?

 

What if we put down our phone when we are riding a roller-coast of emotions rather than firing back through text message?

 

What if we spent time driving, getting coffee, at the dinner table…without any distractions?

 

 

 

 

Let’s enjoy time away, fighting the urge to be seen and heard throughout our entire day.

 

 

 

Let’s disconnect to the world unseen and connect to what’s happening right in front of us.

 

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One response to “7 Signs You’re Addicted to Your Phone…and Yourself

  1. Kala, i so loved reading this. I too am guilty of some of those things. I have found that the more unplugged we live, the happier we are…so we make a conscious effort to just enjoy life without all the media linked to it. Great post.

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