I don’t hide the fact that I LOVE technology. One thing that drives me crazy is fear-mongering about technology, but there are some very real downsides to tech. One of those downsides is technology addiction.
It’s not a terrible thing to admit you are addicted to technology. I think we all struggle with it occasionally. Addiction can come in many forms though. People can be addicted to sweets, Diet Coke, Hallmark Christmas Movies, or more.
Addiction to technology (specifically your phone today, I’ll discuss other types of addiction like pornography in another post) can be extremely difficult to overcome since usually, you can’t avoid using technology. You need your phone to communicate, you need your computer to work, living in 2019 we use technology for lots of different things. Avoiding it can be downright impossible sometimes.
If you find yourself reaching for your phone when you are bored, even though you don’t have anything specific you need to see, you may either have or be getting close to having an addiction to your phone. Check out some things you can do to curb your tech addiction.
Discover your usage
First things first, you really need to get a handle on exactly how much you are using your phone. Finding how much you’ve been using it can be extremely eyeopening! You may think that checking your Instagram or Facebook multiple times a day isn’t taking up a lot of time, but when you add it all together it can equal a lot more.
On Apple devices, you can turn on Screen Time settings for your phone (not just for your kids sometimes!) and track your usage through that. Android devices that are updated also have a Digital wellbeing section inside the settings of the phone that will automatically let you know how much time you’ve spent on various apps. You can even set time limits for yourself through these settings.
Go on a fast
Right now in my daughter’s health class, she has an assignment to give up something she could be addicted to for 7 days. She has chosen to give up YouTube and Instagram for the week. I’m helping her out by disabling the programs in the parental control apps that I use.
You can disable or uninstall the app from your phone as you take a little break. Don’t worry about it, everyone will still be there when you come back online. Set a timeframe and let everyone know you won’t be logging in during that time. If they need to get a hold of you, they can use another form of communication.
7-10 days is a great length of time for your fast, but if you think you may need even more help, you can consider 30 days. It takes about 30 days to make or break a habit, so shoot for that if you really feel like you have a problem.
Change your settings
Every night my phone changes its settings automatically to black and white at 9 PM. It’s amazing how this simple setting can make my phone less appealing. I find myself picking up less after 9 PM and when I do pick it up, I definitely keep looking at it for a lower amount of time as well.
You can use this black and white setting at any time, not just at night. You can also force your phone into do not disturb mode automatically. This way, after a certain time you won’t get any notifications or phone calls.
Install an app
There are a lot of digital wellbeing apps, even several that Google just released. I really like Space, even though it can be super annoying at the beginning as you try to get used to your new alerts and restrictions. With these apps, you can essentially force yourself into certain restrictions.
Parental controls aren’t just for kids sometimes. You can even install just regular parental control apps for yourself and give someone else the controls over your phone.
Hopefully, these tips will help you rely on your phone a little bit less. You can use technology as a tool and not a vice. However, if you have a serious addiction to technology please seek professional help.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com