Several weeks ago, I drove by what looked to be a group of middle school aged students waiting for a bus. As I think about it, for all I know they were college students…they all look so young to me! I was struck by the fact that each and everyone of them had their heads down looking at their phones. As a chiropractor this bothers me based on the postural biomechanics of constantly looking down at a phone or device. While it does assure some degree of job security for chiropractors and physical therapists, it is quite troubling. How big is the problem? A 2020 SURVEY found that the average American spends 4-6 hours of phone screen time per day and 6-8 hours for teens! That’s about three months or more per year and almost as much time as we spend sleeping! According to Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University, 46% of young adults in a survey said they’d rather have a broken bone than a broken phone. Clear cases of what he calls ‘Nomophobia’: fear of being without your mobile phone. HERE is an article on why we are addicted. But our phones make us more productive / efficient, right? Not according to neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin. Dr Levitin argues in THIS article that our addiction to technology is making us less efficient.
The first step is admitting the problem. I’ll go first. My name is Jim, and I am addicted to my phone! When I read through THE COMMON SIGNS OF ADDICTION I identify with a fair number of them when I substitute the word “phone” with “drug”. I’m sure I could stop if I wanted to, but I don’t want to. Oh wait, that’s on the list! I’m only partly kidding; I am committed to cutting back on my own phone habit.
HERE is a blog post on five steps to stop checking your phone. Here is a brief summary of the five.
- “Don’t” say “Can’t”: You can always check your phone. But decide to be the kind of person who doesn’t.
- Proximity is destiny: Put your phone across the room and laziness becomes a superpower.
- Use a “stopping rule”: Leaving the house with your phone at 5% battery is extreme… but it’ll work.
- You don’t break habits. You replace them: Good apps up front. Evil apps must be downloaded.
- Dr. Jekyll, prepare for Mr. Hyde: Going over to a friend’s house for dinner and know you’re going to be tempted to rudely check your phone at the table? Leave your phone in your coat knowing future-you will be too lazy to go to the closet every five minutes.
As always, thank you for reading!
Dr Jim McDaniel