You’ve seen it – the couple at a nice restaurant with their eyes focused on their phones instead of each other, the child in the stroller at the park playing with an iPad instead of exploring his or her surroundings, the fans at the concert concentrating on recording their favorite song instead of fully enjoying the moment. How often are we distracted by our mobile devices?
“Often we don’t realize the control that a cell phone has over our lives and how much time we spend on it until we don’t have it with us anymore,” says Dr. Kory Floyd, Professor of Human Communication at Arizona State. “We are dividing our attention so thinly these days that it’s hard to hold it for any [extended] period of time.”
According to a recent study from the Android app Locket, the average person looks at his or her cell phone an average of 110 times per day. This study tracked 150,000 users and its data was obtained by tracking how many times each person unlocked their device. People look at their phones the most during the peak hours of 5pm – 8pm and an average of 9 times per hour.
A similar study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found that the average cell phone user checks their device an average of 150 times per day. Specifically, the study found that people check their phones an average of 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for voice calls and 18 times to check the time.
Regardless of where you fall in the device-checking spectrum, chances are you are slightly, if not almost entirely, addicted to your mobile devices. Since most people constantly have access to their cell phone, there seem to be an expected quick response to emails, texts, and phone calls. This societal expectation limits us to fully detach ourselves in moments of our lives when we should be focused on other important events.
So, what can you do to limit your mobile device attachment?
1. SOLITUDE: Spending time alone has proved to be important for your happiness and personal development. Read, write, work on a hobby; just focus on whatever it is that you are doing. Keep the cell phone put away during that time.
2. VISIT PLACES WITHOUT CELL SERVICE: If you are lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, there are plenty of beautiful weekend getaways located in an area without cell service. Considering many tech addicts live in Silicon Valley or the surrounding areas, this is especially convenient and can be a great “recharge” by focusing on nature instead of your glowing device. A couple great tech-free getaways include Yosemite National Park and Clearlake, Calif.
If you’d like to take it to the next level and go to events specifically designed for folks who want to remove themselves from technology, there is a Digital Detox Retreat at Shambhalah Ranch in Northern California.
3. AWARENESS: Be an observer of your own thoughts and actions. If it stresses you out or does not feel productive to check your email or Facebook when you first wake up, realize and accept that fact, then make a conscious effort to start changing your habits.