As many people begin their holiday shopping, a new phone is undoubtedly on many wish lists.
These days, heading out the door with your cellphone seems as necessary as grabbing your car keys and wallet.
Ironically, the very device that allows us to be more social and efficient can also drain our interpersonal communication and productivity as fast as a diminishing battery.
For several people, the blue hue of a phone is the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see before bed.
The Pew Research Center says nearly 75 percent of adults in the United States own a smartphone.
Some people, however, seem like they have gone past the point of amusement to downright addiction.
While the American Psychiatric Association does not actually diagnose a phone “addiction,” it does say using a phone leads to some obsessive behaviors.
That's because using one triggers Dopamine, which is a chemical in our brain that makes us feel good. Dopamine gives us that happy feeling when we get a new text message, phone call or lots of “likes” on a photo.
13WMAZ’s Karli Barnett researched and learned some ways people can live a more phone-free lifestyle:
1. Give it space.
Keep your phone on the other side of the room. The harder it is to reach it, the less you will be tempted to look at it.
2. Try the silent treatment.
Turn off your notifications. Hearing the ring, ding, or buzz makes us want to instantly check that text or email. Think of Pavlov’s dog— each time the dog heard a bell, he expected a treat.
3. Be an unsocial butterfly.
Remove the social media apps off of your phone. It is easy to get lost in the loop of constantly refreshing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see the latest and greatest posts. Before you know it, you’re deep into photos of dogs in hats.
4. Establish some ground rules.
Set up specific parameters for phone use. One example is to pick a time frame, such as one hour a day, where you turn your phone off completely. You may find the urge to turn it back on goes away after a while.
While many Central Georgians we spoke to agreed with the sentiment that people are on their phones too much, they admitted it can be harder to unplug than they realized.
When asked which of the tips would be the toughest to implement, Mercer University Senior, Kealon Edwards, says giving it space would be a challenge.
“Even though I don’t necessarily use my phone a lot,” I still always have it on me he explains. “Nowadays, you need your phone for a lot of the school stuff. My professors send me emails and it goes right to the phone.”
Pastor Dominique Johnson admits he has seen people looking at a screen during a church service. However, he says the church needs to adapt to the changing times.
“We know in the age of technology people have Bibles on the phone, so you don't get as disturbed by it,” he laughs.
Discussing his phone habits, Ray Foster said he was not addicted to checking his smartphone.
“I lived for a long time without one,” he explained.
The tune changes, though, when he says he does not believe he could implement any of the smartphone tips into his routine.
Taylor Rodgers is another Mercer student who says, for her, cutting out social media would be too difficult.
“I like to use my phone for both work and play,” she says.
Some, like Reece Wisner, say she needs her phone, not for calls or social media, but for reminders.
“I could do all of them except number two… I have to have my alarms!”
Whether you can do one or none of those tricks, each person 13WMAZ spoke with says smartphone are simply part of our lives, both for better and for worse.
Ray Foster echoed the dichotomy saying: “They probably are having somewhat of a negative impact on my life, but I'm still really glad I have it.”
If you need something a little stronger than your willpower, apps like Flipd, Offtime, and AppDetox, just to name a few, can all help manage phone time.