You can’t deny that technology is taking over our lives. It influences our thoughts, movement, sleep, work routine and quality family time.
The 60s and 70s were all about the hippie movement and rock and roll. The 80s saw the introduction of the personal computer, and the 21st century brought us the war on terror and the social media phenomenon. How will historians look back on this time? No doubt, it will be remembered as the age of the SmartPhones.
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Look around you – how many people do you see sat in a coffee shop reading a newspaper or on the tube flicking through a magazine? The answer is few – people are becoming increasingly addicted to their smartphones… so much so, that there is now an official phrase word for it: ‘nomophobia.’ This is the description for someone with a pathological fear of being out of touch with technology and out of mobile phone contact.
A Flurry survey earlier this year revealed that the number of mobile phone addicts grew from 79 million to 176 million people between March 2013 and March 2014 – an increase of 123%. The researches wrote: “That is an astonishing growth in a single year.”
This “astonishing growth” in mobile usage would explain the handful of apps that have launched recently to help people recognise their smartphone use and promote balance in their life. Apps such as Moment for example, enable you to automatically track how much you use your phone each day. You can set yourself daily limits and request notifications when you go over. If you’re an Android user, you can download BreakFree, which markets itself as a control for smartphone addiction. These tools are great for tracking time; especially if you’re worried you might have a digital vice, i.e. Facebook or Angry Birds!
In May earlier this year, a video on YouTube entitled ‘Look Up’ went viral, It’s an inspirational video reminding viewers to take a break from technology and ‘look up,’ take in the scenery and actually feel present in the moment. Out of the 45 million plus people that watched this video and found it inspiring, how many probably shared it on Twitter or mentioned it on Facebook straight away? Oh, the irony.
Children should be familiar with technology, but should they be colouring on iPads instead of in a book? Should they be absorbed in YouTube instead of enjoying making home videos? It’s important to keep an eye on children’s smartphone use, as new reports show that one in five children in UK have seen something on their phone that has upset them.
If you are worried you might suffer from nomophobia, what can you do?
· Buy yourself an alarm clock and wake up without your phone on the bedside table. Leave it switched off for the first hour of your day – use this time to enjoy a nice breakfast, stretching and showering. Start the day off without instantly checking your Twitter feed or checking your emails!
· Create no-phone timeframes each day where you have an allocated half hour or hour where you are not allowed to use your phone. Put it away and stay focused on the task in hand.
· Remember that when you are in somebody else’s company, you don’t always have to check yourself in on Facebook or Instagram a picture of you and your friend’s coffee! Engage with the person you’re with and remember to keep virtual friendships of less value than real life interactions.
· When you are going to sleep, switch off your phone. Studies have proved that ‘blue’ light emitted from tablets, smartphones and other gadgets is the most melatonin-suppressive of all and significantly reduces sleep duration and quality.
Suggestions have been made by https://budgetmobilecover.co.uk/, one of the UK’s fastest growing mobile and gadget insurance companies.