By Diane Robinson, PhD Neuropsychologist at Orlando Health
More than 75 percent of Americans own a smartphone, making these devices an integral part of our everyday lives. But for many of us, smartphones have moved from handy tools to all-consuming toys.
Two questions can determine which camp you fall into:
- Do you check your phone every few minutes for the latest Facebook update, tweet, news alert or text?
- Do you spend more time communicating with people on your phone than in person?
If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you may be too attached to your phone. Relying too much on digital devices can interfere with normal one-on-one conversation and relationship-building. If your smartphone is taking up too much space — and time — in your life, here are some ways to rein it in.
Keep your phone out of reach. When you drive, store your phone in the glove compartment or put it in your purse. When you’re at a restaurant or other social outing, turn your phone off and put it away.
Have phone-free zones. Keep your phone out of the bathroom. In addition to being excessive, this behavior also may be unsanitary. Before you go to bed at night, turn your phone off and put it away.
Set designated digital-free times. Start a no-cell phone rule during certain times, such as family dinners or weekend social activities. Shut down your phone at a certain point each day during the workweek.
Enjoy real-world conversations. When you’re socializing with family or friends, turn off your phone or at least put it on vibrate. Don’t be that person who checks their phone while someone is trying to have a conversation with you.
Instead of passing away the time on your phone, try more enriching activities such as exercising, seeing new sights around your town, getting out and meeting new people or spending time with those you care about. These are all more worthwhile than being glued to your phone.
For more advice on coping with everyday issues, check out OrlandoHealthBlog.com.