Did you know that the average person touches their phone about 2,617 times a day? For the top 10 percent of users, this number doubled to 5,427 touches per day. That’s about 1 million touches per year. March 9-10 is the National Day of Unplugging, a 24-hour hiatus from technology aimed at getting us to disconnect from our devices so we can connect with ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. It was created by Reboot, an organization dedicated to affirming Jewish traditions that everyone can apply — in this case, the value of slowing down and enjoying a Sabbath. The National Day of Unplugging highlights the fact that our smartphones have become like another appendage that we can’t seem to take our eyes off of. According to the Pew Research Center, 95 per cent of Americans now own a cellphone of some sort, and 77 per cent of them are smartphones.
Why Take a Break from Cellphones?
For starters, being constantly connected creates unpredictability. Your laid back Saturday morning can take an 360 degree turn because of an email or text from an annoyed colleague or friend. It can suddenly propel you from relaxation mode to work mode, and this unpredictability causes stress, insecurity and a constant state of activation. In fact, research shows that employees who are contacted outside of normal working hours for work-related matters occasionally suffer numerous health impairments. When we unplug, we give ourselves the time and space to destress and recharge, which makes us feel better and actually makes us more effective when we return to work.
Because our phones help us connect to others, we tend to think that they enhance our relationships. When we spend time with other people, our phones can put up a wall between you. Known as “phubbing,” spending time on our phone when you are with someone hinders the relationship with that person. How often do you check your phone when you’re out for a meal with friends or family? Have you ever considered that checking your phone for updates could undermine your dining experience? New research shows that when people check their phones while sharing a meal with others, they don’t enjoy themselves as much. They don’t feel as close and connected to other people, they suffer more tension and are more bored. Many people will put their phones on the table when they go out for a meal. Well, research shows that simply having a phone in your line of sightcompromises your experience of the quality of the relationships you have with others. If you want to enjoy feelings of closeness, connection, and intimacy with your friends and family, you need to put away your phone.
It takes willpower to step away from technology. Here are some tips for people interested in cutting down.
1. Replace the phone on your bedside table with an alarm clock. This is a good way to ensure you’re not checking your cellphone before bed and first thing in the morning.
2. Set goals and schedule times when you think it would be beneficial to go without a phone. Make sure some of those times are when you’re alone, not doing anything at all. Psychologists have been researching something called attention-restoration theory. The idea is that people can better focus on tasks after taking a break and doing absolutely nothing.
3. Before you disconnect, make sure to give people a heads up. One college girl was declared a missing person by her friends for two days because she wasn’t getting back to them but then discovered she just wasn’t connected to her phone or the internet.
Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction
Reaching for the phone first thing in the morning: When something becomes a vital part of your daily routine, it can affect thinking and emotions. As Entrepreneur notes, 68 percent of adults sleep with their phones near the bed.
Using cell phones when bored: Many people experience feelings of excitement or euphoria before or after using their smartphone. This creates a highly addictive response, causing them to want to repeat the action over and over, the same article explains.
Increasing cell phone use: “Tolerance is the need to receive an ever-increasing dose to reach the desired high and is similar to alcohol abuse.
Becoming anxious or agitated when the cell phone is out of sight: Symptoms like stress, irritability, and panic that occur when individuals can’t find their phone or are separated from it indicate that they have formed a dependency.
People complain about cell phone use: If loved ones frequently mention that individuals are always on their phone and that it bothers them, it is likely time to cut back. Smartphone use could be negatively impacting social life or family time.
Inability to cut back on cell phone use: “Relapse occurs when you set every intention to cut back on your phone use but find yourself reaching for it with a force that seems beyond your control,” Entrepreneur explains.
Cell Phone Addiction Facts
94% of all Americans have cell phones, which means that 9 out of 10 people have a cell phone on them.
We have them with us for roughly 16 hours a day.
On average, we check them 150 times per day.
68% of us have them next to us while we sleep.
Americans send over 6 million text messages every day. That is the equivalent of over double the population of Los Angeles, California! That’s 763 text messages per person per month.
99% of text messages that we send are read
90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of receiving them
40 percent of people check their cellphones while using the bathroom, and a shocking 1 in 10 people use their phones in the shower.
Half of teens say they are addicted to their phones, and half of people feel uneasy when they forget their phones at home.
3 in 4 people say they have texted at least once while driving, and 56% of parents check their phones while driving.
Americans Spend an Average of 5 Hours Per Day Browsing
National Day of Unplugging Toolkit
The official website had a toolkit for unplugging in the classroom. The kit comes with a cell phone sleeping bag. San Francisco-based conceptual artist Jessica Tully designed this cell phone bag as a way to resist the temptation of the distracting electronic glow of our cell phones and cameras. It also comes with “we” and “I” unplug because posters. These posters are a great icebreaker and prop to activate your space and create discussion and interaction. Kids love sharing the reasons they unplug. Lastly, the kit comes with a kids’ DIY resource toolkit that has board games, scavenger hunts, and cooking recipes and have examples of all sorts of activities you can do in your homes, schools and classrooms.
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