Let’s face it, few of us can live without our smartphone. In turn, this dependence can lead to usage habits which perhaps aren’t too healthy, for a variety of reasons. By “healthy”, we don’t necessarily mean not getting sick. Life should be a happy and fulfilling thing. Let your phone contribute to that, but don’t let it dominate. If you do, then the opinions of strangers will become far more important than they have any right to be. You don’t NEED a smartphone, basically.
But, the fact remains, smartphones are here to stay. The days of wondering where someone is, or using a pay phone are long gone for most of us. News headlines are available constantly, sports scores, the weather, GPS navigation and anything you can think of is all at our fingertips. So much so, that we can’t put our phones down.
But, despite that, we can be a little more aware of how we use our phones. We can make choices which will refine our habits and need little more than common sense. We can sleep better, actually, if we just have a little self discipline.
What’s that you say? How? It’s easy…
Seriously, limit how late you use your phone. It’s long been known that the body has a particular rhythm to how it works. If something throws the rhythm off, all sorts of things can happen. One thing which does throw our bodies off kilter is the glow of electronic devices.
We all check our phones last thing at night. We check our emails, we check social media, we maybe even watch a video or two. All these will keep you awake for longer than necessary. Learn to do without that last peek. After all, unless it’s life or death, what are you going to do? Precisely nothing, is the answer.
If your phone has the ability, and most do, set quiet hours. These are times when no alerts of notifications will make a sound or cause the display to waken. If you are worried about missing vital calls, the quiet period has an option to allow certain people though the silence. You can choose them individually or just have it set to starred contacts.
If your phone can’t already do this, there are lots of apps that will do it for you.
You’re sat at home, watching TV, with your smartphone at the side of you. Because of this, you will check it every 2 minutes. How do we know? Because we do it too. Put it away, in your pocket or purse or whatever. You’ll be much less tempted to keep glancing at it.
Ah, but you’re wondering how this makes you healthier? Talk to your kids, or parents, or partner, whoever is with you. Smartphones are killing conversation. You want a healthy, happy relationship? Start by acting like you’re in one. Put down your phone and everybody wins.
Have a day, or a weekend, or even just an afternoon without your phone. It’ll be cold turkey time for the first hour or two, but you’ll soon learn to manage without it. If you need to fill the time, take a walk, go see a movie, learn to play a musical instrument. The point is that, once you figure out you can live independently from your phone, you can find a balance which works. Start small, by banning phone use at mealtimes. Then ban them from the bedroom unless they are charging or acting as a nightstand clock. You’ll soon be able to treat your phone as an accessory, rather than a piece of life-saving equipment.
Your phone is neither a defibrillator nor does it provide oxygen.
Sadly, we seem to be turning out entire generations of people whose self-worth is determined by how many people like the stuff the post on Instagram or Facebook. If they don’t get the response they want, it’s somehow a signal of invalidation. Life may teach them, eventually, that it really doesn’t matter. Until, then, though, you and they need to realise that we are all better than that.
Social media is great, assuming you like arguing with people you’ll never meet. But why let the views of others make you angry? Unless they are your parents or politicians, their views have no meaning for you or your life. If you like to debate, then go ahead, but understand that none of it is personal. And if it does take a sinister turn, simply walk away.
Like we said, you’ll never meet these people, so why do you care what they think? Engage with people who can enrich your life, not with those who take pleasure from the unhappiness of others.
Okay, so this one is intended to protect your physical welfare. Some don’ts when using your smartphone.
DON’T text and drive. Just don’t. Even if it isn’t illegal where you live, it can slow your reactions by up to 80%. That slowdown could kill someone. It could kill you.
DON’T text and walk. For one, you can get hurt. The world has cars, kerbs and holes, all of which can hurt you. People can also hurt you, especially if you walk into them when using your phone.
DON’T use your phone in a restaurant. Why? Because if I’m on the table next to you, it’ll go into the nearest jug of water or tureen of soup. And I’m not alone. This is always listed as one of the biggest issues with mobile phone use. Be considerate.
Your smartphone is great, as long as you control it, and it doesn’t control you.