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How to break your mobile phone addiction

Published: 31st January, 2018 at 00:00
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Five tips from Prof Mark Griffiths, psychologist and behavioural addiction expert at Nottingham Trent University on how to live well without your phone.

Stuck on your smartphone? Glued to YouTube? In issue 317 of BBC Focus we investigate the growing number of people entering rehab for technology addiction and what this tells us about our relationship with gadgets (read a sample here). Not all cases are so extreme, but if you just want to step down the amount of time you spend on your smartphone here are some helpful tips.


Step it down gradually

The urge to check your phone can become reflexive and habitual. For some, going a few minutes without checking their phone is difficult. If this sounds like you, try to go 15 minutes without doing it. Once you realise this is possible, increase the length of time you avoid checking to 30 minutes, an hour, and then a few hours a day.

Monitor usage

Download an app that will tell you how much time you’re spending online. (Moment and AntiSocial are two examples.) This could make you aware of a problem – the first step to a solution.

Buy an alarm clock

Don’t use your phone as an alarm, or you might be tempted to check texts and emails last thing at night and as soon as you wake up. In fact, ban phones from the bedroom. Designate bedtimes and mealtimes as smartphone-free zones. Consider buying a watch, so you’re no longer tempted by emails and texts when you check the time.

Spring clean your contacts

How many online friends do you actually speak to? Reduce alerts and distractions by removing contacts on social networking sites, deleting unused apps, and unsubscribing from groups that offer little benefit. Consider deleting any games that are taking up a lot of your time.

Learn to wait

Be mindful of the benefits of not regularly checking your phone. People who react to messages as they arrive tend to write longer responses than those who wait and deal with them all as a block. Waiting will gain you time to spend on other activities.

Of course there's always the nuclear option...


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