Are your kids constantly burying their face in their phone? At the dinner table? Or are you finding that even you can’t keep your hands off your favorite device?
Internet and cell phone addiction is a growing concern for families in the US and across the world. Consider this: one study showed that 84% of phone users can’t go a single day without checking their mobile device, and the average user checked their phone 110 times a day in 2016. Another study showed that more than fifty percent of teens felt they were addicted to their own mobile devices.
Finding balance is different for every person. It’s a complex issue, when many of us need our phones to stay connected to our work and family, or we want our children to have cell phones so we can stay in touch with them. It’s both a convenience and a snare.
Here are some suggestions for reducing your dependency on your cell phone and becoming more present.
For an hour each day, schedule a technology “time-out.” During this time, you and your family put away your phones, turn of the TV and laptops and video games. Take some time to do an activity together: whether that’s cooking dinner and catching up on each others’ lives, taking a family walk around the neighborhood, or reading a book together.
Disconnect on Schedule
Set yourself limitations on when you and your family are allowed to use electronic devices, within reason and considering the different needs of your family members. Simple rules can be very effective: “No Internet after 8pm” or “No phones in bed.” Find out what works best for you and your family and stick to it. Studies show that unplugging before bed can help reduce stress and promote more restful sleep.
Back to Nature
Living in the Upper Peninsula, we have an amazing resource right in our proverbial backyard. Here are some ideas: plan a camping trip and bring only one phone for emergencies. Take an evening walk around Presque Isle (and resist the temptation to post a photo of the sunset to Instagram). When we have immediate access to endless information, news, and rich media right in our pocket, it can be hard to strip ourselves away. But the immersive and calming effect of nature can help facilitate that transition away from the digital world.
If you’re worried about the amount of time you or your family are spending with technology, take time to talk with your primary care provider about how you can unplug, increase your daily exercise, and find the right balance. A primary care provider may also be able to refer you to a specialist for severe cases of addiction.
If you need to find a primary care provider, use our online Find a Doctor tool or call 906.228.9440 to speak with us today.