The possibilities that phones provide us with are brilliant...
Until it goes too far and our brains (and bodies) are left screaming for a break.
When you think about how much time you spend online, or on your phone, it's quite terrifying. Research has shown that (on average) people spend 24 hours a week on their phones - some adults even admitted to spending more like 40 hours. How much time do you think you spend on yours?
We wouldn't be talking about this if it wasn't a serious problem and that's exactly what it's becoming more of, especially in regards to social media. Depression is incredibly high amongst young people, and one of the reasons is due to the amount of time spent on social media. Sites like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are brilliant for connecting people and have lots of benefits, but the cons are starting to outweigh the pros.
For someone with self-esteem issues, spending more than 5 hours on social media seeing 'perfect' lives consisting of heavily-Photoshopped pictures and unrealistic poses is dangerous. This is precisely how your phone can hinder your happiness. Before you start throwing your phone away and consider going back to your Nokia 3310, there are ways around this that are a lot less drastic...
1. Monitor your screen time
Apple has introduced a new feature on iOS 12 called 'Screen Time' which monitors how long you're spending on your phone and which apps you use most frequently. For some people, this will shock you because you'll realise how much time you're spending on your phone and even how many times you pick your phone up a day! Screen Time allows you to set app limits to stop you spending excessive time online - so, if you're spending a long time online, consider using this feature so that you're having regular breaks.
2. Challenge yourself to 24 hours phone free
If you're not lucky enough to have Screen Time or just want to challenge yourself regularly, see how you get on with just putting your phone away or switching it off for a day. If you'd struggle without the occasional call or text, try switching your WiFi/data off so that you're unable to access WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook etc and you'll notice the positive effect it has on your mental wellbeing. Doing this regularly will help you see that you don't need your phone so much after all!
3. Win free stuff by putting your phone down
Have you heard of the app Hold? It's available on both Android and Apple; it's an app that rewards you for spending time off your phone, and there are some pretty good rewards too! Once you activate the timer on the app, you earn points for the time spent off your phone and these points can be used to redeem Amazon vouchers, free money and discounts. You've got nothing to lose and a LOT to gain, so it's worth a try.
If you've ever felt rubbish about yourself or felt that excessive use of your phone has affected your mental health, it's time to stop relying on your 'online life' for happiness. Society more or less revolves around smartphone technology and it may not be the easiest thing you've ever done but once you reap the rewards (literally), you'll realise it isn't so bad after all.