"Why can't I put my phone down?" I thought to myself as I was completing a task for one of my classes. I have noticed that I pick up my phone without even realizing it. I pick it up while I eat my meals, and as I walk into the entrance of a building. As you can see, I have a terrible habit and I know I am not the only one who has an unhealthy relationship with their phone. In fact, anytime I walk into the student center at my university I see people glued to their cell phones.
The reason we've become addicted to our cell phones is simple. According to Google Product Manager Tristan Harris, phones are like "slot machines." He further explained that the likes and follows we receive on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the prizes. Harris also called likes and follows a "reinforcement" for staying on your phone. In short, society can not seem to put their phones down because of the adrenaline we receive from social media.
Consequently, the effect of social media is this: less social interaction. Tech Philosopher Alex Wolf made a Youtube video explaining this effect. In her video, You Can't Amazon Prime A Social Life: The Consequences of ECONOMIZED RELATIONSHIPS, Wolf discussed how important it is to have a conversation with your Uber Driver. Wolf placed emphasis on how vital this conversation this very conversation could help develop social skills. Wolf stated, "I stopped asking myself if it's really the worst thing in the world: if we talk for 10 minutes or so and I remember what will really be the worst thing in the world is if we can't." Alex Wolf is spot on in her analysis. Social skills can diminish the more we consume ourselves with the contents of our phone.
My solution to the continuous grabbing of the cellphone? Making it a priority to be present in the moment. When one focuses on what is currently happening, intimate conversations can be created within the community around them. To be present is to be fully grounded and aware of your surroundings. Here seven tips to help you curb your cell phone habits:
- Do not tamper with your cell phone when engaging in conversation.
- Set aside designated times to use your phone. For example, 10 minutes in the afternoon, morning or night-time.
- Place the phone in the other room while working on homework or assignments for work..
- Set your phone notifications to "Do Not Disturb." In this setting, the cellular device will not buzz or ring.
- Delete distracting apps from your phone like Instagram and Twitter.
Bottom line: Society needs to reevaluate the way our phones are being used. When we constantly scoll through our phones, we distract ourselves from our real lives and responsibilites. That's why I am brainstorming ways to live in the moment everyday.
How have you cut down on your screen time? Share your tips below!