How to break your Smartphone addiction

I’ve read several articles recently about how hard it is to break your Smartphone addiction.  Not to worry, it’s not your fault.  The apps on the phones are programming you to:






Take a look at some of these recent headlines:

When I started looking into this, I got a little freaked out.  Technology companies really are trying to get us to interact more with their apps.  They really are enabling our smartphone addiction. The more we interact with various applications, the more advertisements we’ll see, and that is the whole point.  As Ramsey Brown, founder of Dopamine Labs says:

          “You don’t pay for Facebook.  Advertisers pay for Facebook.  You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold.”Smartphone Addiction

Mr. Brown’s tool, the dopamine api, allows any app to become addictive.  Brown explains:

          “The premise is really straightforward… people don’t just love that burst of dopamine they get from a notification, it changes the wiring of the brain.”

The whole premise is rather ingenious, and pernicious. It very slowly pulls you in, all the while giving you those dopamine hits.  When you don’t get that hit, you start feeling anxious and reach for your phone. It’s hard to break your smartphone addiction.

If you’re looking for more background, Anderson Cooper did an in depth report on smartphone addiction.  In the meantime:

What can you do to break your Smartphone Addiction?

  1. Be very conscious each time you pick up your Smartphone.  What is the specific thing you want to accomplish?  I can’t tell you the number of times I have picked up my phone to make a call or look up a quick fact. Unfortunately, when I unlocked the screen, Facebook was already on.  I then spent 15 or 20 minutes scrolling through my Facebook feed before remembering what I needed to do.
  2. Close any apps before you put down your phone.  That way, when you turn it on again, you’ll be presented with your home screen and won’t get distracted. (See #1 above.)
  3. Keep your charging cord away from your bedside for overnight charging.  And, whatever you do, don’t get a Mophie Charging Base.  That one little device has made it so much easier for me to grab my phone in the middle of the night to check email (or Facebook!), then place it back on the pad to keep charging without having to fuss with cords.
  4. Pledge to use only your computer to check social media, and to use your Smartphone for email and phone calls.
  5. Get a “dumb phone” for everyday use, and only use your Smartphone when you’re traveling. (This article talks about a dumb phone that can make this process more seamless.)

If these tips are helpful, please pass them on!

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This article was cross posted on Medium.

4 thoughts on “How to break your Smartphone addiction

  1. I love this! As a psychotherapist, I am often counseling mindfulness, intentional behaviors, and boundaries (e.g. limiting access). Great applications for creating a healthier relationship with your smartphone!

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