Update date March 15, 2021 at 3:34 pm
- You always carry it with you and it has become indispensable to most: the cell phone.
- But when does automatic access to a smartphone become a problem? The most important indication of the duration of use: loss of control.
On the bus, in the doctor’s waiting room or on the couch in the evening when the TV show is boring: We often get to our smartphone automatically without even thinking about it. And then it takes a lot of will to get your hands off it. In such contexts, the term addiction appears quickly. In a poll conducted by Forsa in the summer of 2020, for example, half of parents surveyed stated that they feared their children would use addictive smartphones.
But when does it get so problematic that one can talk about an addiction? In advance: This cannot be determined simply by continuous access to the device. “There are various criteria that can be used to define this,” says Tim Aalderink. He is Head of the Psychological Institute at Schön Klinik Hospital in Bad Bramstedt (Schleswig-Holstein) and specializes in smartphone addiction, among others.
More worrisome than just the time of use: the constant loss of control
To talk about addiction, be to the core Loss of control Important. In other words: you no longer have control over usage. According to ADRINC, this can be expressed as:
- Even in inappropriate situations – which you actually find inappropriate – take your smartphone close at hand – for example when dining at a restaurant with friends.
- Another example: You are tired and you already know that you need to sleep. But you cannot disconnect the device, keep browsing and scrolling. A possible addiction has also been revealed in Shifting prioritiesWhen tasks at work or hobbies are less important than a smartphone.
- The problem is also shown by the fact that it is Excessive use continues despite negative consequences Even if your friends turn away from you or you have problems at school.
However, duration of use alone is not evidence of addiction. From Aalderink’s point of view, there is actually a lot more when someone uses their smartphone five hours a day outside of a professional context. But he wants to focus on the other warning signs.
Make up for loneliness or frustration with a mobile phone? Attention
“When you stop using a smartphone for enjoyment or entertainment, but with it He wants to regulate feelings like loneliness or frustrationIt’s going to be tough, ”Alderink explains.
Most of them use it primarily for fun and entertainment, and that’s okay, even if it stays in their hands for a longer period of time. Often people also use a smartphone even if, for example, they are watching a movie. Aalderink not only criticizes this “second screen mentality”, but also has an explanation for it: “Our media usage habits and attention span have simply changed in the last few years. We are trained on faster and more intense stimuli. I personally watch today the best series over movies because movies are often Too long for me. “
A simple trick that prevents automatic access to a mobile phone
In addition, there is the availability of the smartphone: when we are sitting on the sofa, watching a movie, we find it boring and with the smartphone next to us, all we need is one grip. In the past you had to get up to get a book. From the aforementioned example, the most effective strategy for looking at a smartphone can be deduced less from an expert’s point of view, but from an expert’s point of view.
It reads: Out of sight, out of mind. So you can simply put your smartphone in another room during movie night. Or pack it in your backpack while walking on the beach to relish the moment – and don’t ever feel the need to take pictures with your smartphone. You can also define smartphone-free zones, for example the dining table.
A small step towards further abstaining from using the device is to turn off notifications, including vibrations. Apps on devices like Screen Time on Apple’s iOS and Digital Wellbeing on Android from Google relentlessly show you how often you actually use a smartphone and for how long – this may provide an incentive to push those numbers up.
Help with addiction
However, the truth is: if there really is an addiction, these tips are of little use. If you have a feeling that your smartphone use is no longer under control, you can first turn to an addiction counseling center, which often comes with advice on media addiction. The next step will be outpatient or inpatient treatment, depending on the severity of the problem. As a rule, the cause of your addiction is determined on the one hand, and on the other hand work is being carried out to improve your self-control so that you do not use your smartphone all the time.
When loved ones are addicted
Anyone who feels that their partner or friend is having trouble using their smartphone should talk to them – without applying pressure. According to the expert, it’s important that you take a first-person perspective here. For example, you might say, “I notice that you use your smartphone a lot. I’m worried.” One should know more about the topic of addiction and offer to talk about it. “And you have to persevere, because often the other person settles for that first,” says Aldrinck.
“With children, from an expert’s point of view, it is important first and foremost that parents generally pay attention to what they do.” You have to train media skills – and you have to exercise control, ”advises the therapist. Have you set up a ban.