The world at my fingertips, yet instead I use this amazingly powerful device to check out the latest celebrity gossip, look at pictures of cats, or seek recognition with witty observations from my online ‘friends’.
My problem started in my mid-teens, where a confiscated phone resulted in a full blown anxiety attack and a trip to the school counsellor.
Moving into late adolescence and a long distance relationship meant my head was constantly glued to my phone, and as a result, I lost actual real life friends and missed out on moments of beautiful and much needed human interaction.
Now, in my early twenties and enjoying my job with exciting career prospects and opportunities, I’ve been asked to disconnect from my phone.
In saying this, I am in no way anti-phone or anti-social media. I believe that both the phone and the internet, and the many amazing creations that have come from these inventions, have helped connect the world and improved our day to day. I am merely trying to exercise some self-control, and limit my obsession with all things online.
For those of you who also need to disconnect, here are a couple of options to consider:
Hide your phone.
The easiest way to curb the need to check your phone is to remove it from your immediate view. I personally have taken to putting it in my desk drawer when I’m at work.
This simple measure has already made a big change in my phone habits. I am becoming more productive, and less distracted.
I still get the nagging urge feeling that I’m missing out more often than I care to admit, but keeping it out of sight is slowly but surely keeping it out of mind.
Turn off notifications.
Turning off your desired application’s ability to send push notifications will stop you getting pulled away from reality with every social media update. Perhaps you’ll check Facebook or Instagram every couple of hours, maybe even once a day, rather than every time something new happens on your many social networks.
Turn on Airplane mode.
Alternatively, you could elect to simply disable your phone from receiving information. This is a temporary and easy solution to kicking your habit.
Keep in mind, Airplane mode also blocks messages and phone calls from coming through as well; this means you won’t be contactable for emergencies, etc. However, this may be a small price to pay for a little radio silence every now and again.
Use a quitting tool.
For the dedicated few who would like to take a more analytic approach to fighting their fixation, this app “Break Free” is for you! It monitors your phone activity and uses this information to limit your usage.
Currently only available on Android (you can elect to be notified of its release on iOS here), this application has many functions including:
- Usage monitoring
- Parental control features
- Usage statistics
- Phone management tools
- SMS auto replies to messages when you’re taking a break from your phone
- Sound, notification and internet disabling functions
Uninstall unnecessary social media apps.
A drastic measure to rid yourself of the hold that social networking has on you. Think about the applications you have installed on your phone; do you really need them when you can just go through your web browser instead? Not having their icons on your home screen takes away the ability to stay logged in, so you won’t be notified, and won’t be tempted to check.
But wait! There’s more!
The list of measures we can take to battle our online obsession is numerous and varied. As with managing any addiction, there are many ways to go about it. Some may be able to handle the cold turkey approach, where others benefit from being weaned off of the offending substance.
If you’re a Gen Y like me(or a Gen X or Baby Boomer), who needs to disconnect a little, I hope that these suggestions help you in your desire.
Written by Claire Bowles, inspired by real life events and this amazing video.