Are you addicted to your smartphone?

As smartphones continue to change the way we connect, we rely on them more and more to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. Smartphones have become our access to music, movies, email, maps, games, photographs, and banking. And while these devices offer simplicity and seamlessness, they are quickly becoming addictive.

According to an article on CNN, cell phone addiction has become such a reality that it is now treatable in certain rehab centres in the United States. As bizarre as it may sound, cell phone addiction is becoming increasingly common and its implications have real life effects, impacting negatively on parenting, relationships, work and study. While you may deny being an addict, here are a few simple signs that show that you may need to cut back on interacting with your smartphone.

Do you:

1. Check your phone every night before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up?

2. Find yourself checking your phone every few minutes?

3. Spend more time connecting virtually than you do face-to-face?

4. Find yourself passing time on your smartphone instead of doing something more productive?

5. Text, email and network while driving?

6. Find yourself checking your device even in the company of friends or family?

7. Feel anxious, unsettled and misplaced without your cell phone?

These are just a few tale-tale signs that you may be addicted to your cell phone and that you may need to start implementing some restrictions on the use of your device. Although we understand that smartphones have become integral to business and personal communications, there is a point where the device starts to dictate your lifestyle and not the other way round.

If you feel that you, or someone you know, may be addicted to their cell phone, we would like to give you a few tips on how to reduce cell phone dependence:

1. Track your usage. Whether it be emailing, texting, networking or visiting social media sites, take note of how much time you spend on your device in a day and start thinking about where you can cut down on your usage.

2. Put your phone away. Especially if you are spending time with friends and family, make an effort to keep your phone out of reach and eye-sight and commit to being present in the moment. If you can’t be parted from your phone, a fun idea is to create a “phone stack” where everyone puts their phones in a pile on a table and the first one to check their phone has to forfeit something or pick up the restaurant bill at the end of the night.

3. Put your cell phone in another room when you go to sleep or take a nap.

4. Create a dedicated time in your day that can be used for all your networking and posting. By doing so, you can start to control when and where you use your cell phone while still allowing yourself the time to be connected.

If you are unsure whether or not you may be addicted to your cell phone, take the Centre for Internet and Technology Addition’s Smart Phone Abuse test. You may be surprised at your result.