How many times a day do we look at our phones? I can’t even answer this question. I used to check mine around 20 times per hour! Even while walking from my toilet to my shower. What surprises me, is that my habits were unnoticed, mainly because people around me were acting the same way. According to Deloitte's 2017 global Mobile Consumer Survey, Americans look at their phones on average 52 times a day. Witch means that we check our phones on average 18,980 a year and each day 270 million Americans look at their screens about 14 billions times a day!
Now imagine, I invite my parents for dinner, and every few minutes I run outside to check the mailbox, then check my album photos, and then ask the neighbors if I received something… I’m pretty sure my parents would be concerned and ask me to consult for my obsessional behaviors. If this is not ok in real life why is it normal through a screen?
Social networks cause addictions, now we know, comparable to alcohol, tobacco or drugs. It should be addressed by government and societies the same way we face any other addictions.
Manoush Zomorodi shared during a TEDTalk that the only people who refer to their customers as "users" are drug dealers and technologists.
So this week, I invite everyone to reflect on their digital habits: When do you feel the need to check your emails, Instagram or Facebook? And when do you lose track of time? Reflect on the craving you experienced before you opened the apps and the feelings that came up right after you used them. Do you feel better, worse, agitated, stressed, anxious, insecure, judgmental, relieved, peacefulness, calm, focused...? Which post, interaction or email triggered these feelings?
Taking the time to observe my habits and emotions helped me understand my needs, my vulnerability, and my addiction.
Creating a healthy relationship with our smartphones and social media is a long challenging process. But we don't have to disconnect completely and burn our phones.
We can find balance if we put into place a couple of new habits :
- Disconnect as much as possible and impose precise schedules to check our emails and social media.
- Avoid at all costs to check our phone, emails, news, or social networks upon waking up because it increases our impression of missing out. Unconsciously, we think we have missed things during the night. So we feel the need to check everything.
- Turn off our phone when meeting with our friends.
- Keep our phone outside of our bedroom.
- Leave our phone at home once in a while when we spend time outdoors.
Time is precious and it is OURS.
No screen or app should take it away from us.
Watch Manoush Zomorodi's TEDTalk :