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The Smartphone Effect

May 5th, 2020


“The challenge for a human now is to be more interesting to another than his or her smartphone.” - Alain de Botton

A group of people standing against a wall all on their cell phones

Smartphones: The Good

About 77 percent of Americans have a smartphone, up 35 percent from 2011. Smartphones provide us with a convenient way to stay connected to the people we love. Possessing this kind of portable technology and the ability to stay in constant touch with others even has the potential to save lives.

Furthermore, smartphones and advancements in technology allow us to connect with all forms of media and maintain an awareness on what’s going on in the world around us. This constant access to news and media can prove beneficial to both our professional and personal lives.

Smartphones: The Bad

However, regular cell phone usage can certainly have its negative effects when overused or not properly balanced with no screen time. Understanding when and how to limit yourself as it relates to your cell phone is extremely important for your overall mental health and wellness.

Studies have shown that these effects are particularly relevant for kids and teens. So while the convenience and easily accessibility of cell phones make our lives easier in some regards, we must be mindful of how to use them with balance.

Smartphones Impact on Our Youth

Smartphones have inevitably shaped the way kids and young adults interact with one another. Generation Z has come to know a way of life that allows for constant access to media and information instantly, and with little to no boundaries.

Parents can certainly appreciate the immediate communication smartphones afford them when their son or daughter, but researchers urge kids and young adults to implement balance with their smartphone usage now more than ever.

Smartphones Impact on Adults

A couple lying on the floor, both using screens

Researchers similarly urge adults to implement balance as it relates to their smartphone usage. While staying connected to your family and sharing adorable photos of your children can make anyone’s day, it is urged strongly to not become so consumed to where you’re finding yourself scrolling through social media platforms for hours at a time.

Be A Good Example

Setting a good example of smartphone limits is another great way to encourage the same balance for your children. Modeling frequent interaction with your children and others can display an ideal for your children to look up to with their own behavior. Facilitate times to catch up with your family face-to-face, or even consider “household no phone time” or technology curfews to embrace this balance in a bonding way.

Ways To Limit Your Screen Time

There are many ways to implement limited screen time in a way that promotes positive everyday wellness and good mental health…

Neurocore Brain Performance Centers suggests setting up “no phone times” during certain times of the day. Perhaps this could be during a meal shared with family or while you’re getting settled into work first thing in the morning.

If necessary, consider deleting an app or two from your smartphone that you recognize as unnecessary and only a time-waster. If you’d prefer, implement 15-minute intervals throughout the day for mini “smartphone breaks”, giving yourself a break to indulge a little.

Go Outside!

It is important to encourage the children and young adults in your life to spend more time outside while their smartphone is indoors charging. As stated by Melissa Riddle Chalos in her article posted on the website for Lakeside Behavioral Health System, “the mental and physical health benefits of being out in nature are well documented, and yet our children spend less and less time outdoors, disconnected from the digital world”.

Implementing a mere twenty minutes to an hour everyday can make a significant difference in one’s overall mental health and wellbeing. Getting outdoors also promotes confidence, creativity, and imagination. Additionally, time outside reduces stress and fatigue.

Time Away From Your Phone, Means More Time Overall

With the time made available by implementing balance with your smartphone usage, it’s encouraged to grab hold of a new book or learn the art of meditation. Meditation has the ability to improve cognitive performance and reduce feelings of anxiety. If you practice these new uses of time in the evening before bed, your sleep is also said to improve and the likelihood of developing consistent sleep cycles.

Finding the Ideal Balance

A group of people with their arms around each other, no phones in sight, engaged

We love and appreciate the convenience of a smartphone just as much as you! It’s understood and acceptable to make use of this great technology, and the ability it’s given us to remain connected.

That being said, working on remaining mindful and aware of the time you’re dedicating to your smartphone can improve your mental health greatly. Your mind wants to use it’s imaginative nature, creativity, and face-to-face communication, so let it!

If you feel you’re falling short with balance, remember that it’s all about practice. The practice of implementing these limits and boundaries is an excellent place to start, and your overall wellness will thank you for doing so.

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