A recent Associated Press article reported on the need to change the “smartphone habit.”  It appears that smartphone addiction is by design.  The constant stream of notifications, color scheme in apps, and all of the “likes” followers and in-game trophies are intentionally designed to distract you from the “real” world to focus on your “virtual” world.

Don’t get me wrong – our smartphones, when used judiciously, enhance our lives in any number of ways.  But too much of this good thing can severely impede our significant relationships.  While the AP report made several suggestions that can help us to modify this “habit,” I want to just mention three of them here.

  • Detox regularly – “It can be as simple as going to the bathroom without your phone or turning it off at mealtimes.” Leaving your phone behind in another room helps your brain to reset.
  • Set a schedule – Because social media has developed the art of random rewards, one researcher found our responses to social media similar to the responses of lab mice responding to random rewards. Experts suggest that we set aside certain times of the day to check email, Facebook, and instant messages.  It is important to resist and not rationalize the urge, until the next scheduled time.
  • Get an alarm clock – There used to be a time when we didn’t use our phones to wake us up. We used this magical device called an alarm clock.  Get one.  “The Center for Humane Technology suggests banishing “cellphones from your bedroom.

So, put your phone a little further away and who knows, “you might even wake and say good morning to your partner instead of checking your phone before you’re even out of bed.”  We are designed for face-to-face relationships and this is one way to improve them.

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