In 2018, it’s not surprising that people are addicted to their smartphones. I know that if I’m bored or want to avoid my life for a few minutes, I will open up Instagram. It’s very easy to take out your phone and get absorbed in what’s happening with your friends or on your favorite social networking site. But should you? Does it have an impact on your health? A new app called Siempo is attempting to make smartphones less distracting. How exactly? The app works as a launcher and replaces your home screen with a simplified black and white version that doesn’t display all the colorful apps.
In addition, Siempo also separates tools from time-wasting apps. Which means, it understands the importance of your email or calendar and lets you access those particular apps. But, like I said, it stops you from spending your precious time scrolling through Instagram. The app also gives you the opportunity to eliminate interruptions by batching your notifications. Which means, instead of getting a notification every time someone likes your Facebook profile pic, you can set it so the notifications come in once every 30 minutes or an hour. Or even just a few times a day. You can also lock your screen so it says something like “Stay off your phone!” when you open it. While this last one might not actually be the biggest deterrent, it certainly sends a strong message.
I definitely think that this is a great idea, but when it comes to your smartphone, are you actually addicted? There’s a difference between using your smartphone to waste some time between meetings, and actually needing to check your Instagram feed for likes. If you aren’t sure which camp you fall into, consider the following:
Take a Test
There is actually a test for cell phone addiction. There are so many quizzes out there to take – whether its BuzzFeed or Facebook, but this is one that we think you should actually consider. The Smartphone Compulsion Test was developed by David Greenfield, Ph.D. Greenfield works for the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. According to Greenfield, a “yes” answer to more than 5 out of the 15 questions indicates that a person likely has a problematic relationship with their mobile device. Try it for yourself—but be prepared that you might not like the result.
Do You Phub?
Apparently, checking your text while you’re talking to someone is known as “phubbing”. If this is something you do, you might be addicted to your phone.
Social Networking Apps
Social networking apps are designed to get you hooked. Case in point – Instagram has actually created code that deliberately holds back on showing users new likes so that they can send a bunch of them all at once. Giving you a sudden rush of euphoria, and thus making you want to keep the app open.
Phones Affect Our Brains
Do you feel like you can’t concentrate? Has your ability to remember things gotten dramatically worse lately? It’s not your imagination. When we read digital media, the cluttered landscape of links and ads and the short bursts of attention that are required by scrolling and swiping and tweeting result in our brains being intensely focused on distraction. Sure, that might not make sense, but the effects are not great. This type of frequent, focused distraction, is creating long-lasting changes in our brains.
This isn’t intended to make you feel bad about yourself, and make you give up your smartphone for good. It’s intended to let you know that you might be abusing your phone, and it could have long-term effects on your health. Like anything in life – moderation is key. But if you feel like you need a little extra help, try Siempo to see if you can curb some of your addiction.