Quiz: How Acute Is Your Phone Addiction?
1. You’re out with friends when you notice your battery is on 3%, you…
A. Ask the barman if he can charge your phone behind the bar.
B. Do nothing. You’ll just enjoy the moment and leave it to others to take any pictures of the evening.
C. Grab your back-up battery. You always carry two spares in your bag.
D. Turn it off. You’ll turn it back on later to make sure there hasn’t been an emergency at home.
2. You’re at work but during lunch, you post a really funny photo online so you…
A. Set your phone on notification vibrate. Then you can focus on work knowing you’ll be alerted if someone comments.
B. Check your Instagram on the way home from work.
C. Set the phone on loud and vibrate, and wait with bated breath.
D. Check your phone during your coffee break and whenever you nip to the loo.
3. Your romantic life and your phone are…
A. Intimately linked, but you don’t answer your phone during sex.
B. Related – you couldn’t do without your phone for arranging nights out.
C. So interchangeable you can’t decide which is more important to you, your love life or your phone?
D. A fun combination. With your ‘find’ app, you know when your partner is on his/her way home.
4. Your phone is not where you think you left it. You…
A. Feel unnerved. You can’t remember the last time you remembered to back up your data.
B. Carry on with what you were doing. You’ll locate it in a bit.
C. Feel your stomach churn and pat every pocket as you rush from room to room trying to find it.
D. Immediately check all the obvious places, then look in the fridge and the cooker, just in case.
5. When you’re with friends or family you…
A. Use your phone quite a bit. Someone needs to take the photos.
B. Turn your phone off or ignore it. If it’s important whoever it is can always call you back later.
C. Get frustrated when they frequently tell you to leave your phone alone. It’s not that simple.
D. Can’t resist checking your phone in between chatting with everyone.
6. You’ve been sent to a mountain retreat, no phone or internet access for a week, you feel…
A. Fine with it. You managed to get one bar of reception by scaling the cliff behind the cabins, so you’ve managed to download your daily yoga moves.
B. Okay. In fact, you’re thinking about deleting some of the social apps when you get back to civilisation.
C. Anxious. You keep reaching for it even though you know there’s nothing new to scroll through.
D. A little unsure, but then liberated. Without relying on likes or similar to feel good, you actually feel better.
7. It’s night time. Your phone is…
A. In your hand but you’ve got it set to ‘night shift’ – you know you should limit blue screen time before sleep.
B. In the hallway, switched off. ‘No radiation or bad vibes in my sanctuary, thank you very much.’
C. In your hand while it’s charging – after all, your phone needs refreshing and recharging during the night just as much as you do.
D. On the bedside table. Then you can hear any notifications so won’t miss anything should something important happen.
Now: Check out your results. Tot up which letter you’ve chosen the most and keep reading to see what it means…
MOSTLY As… Time to ease off
You’re clued up on how bad tech can be for you, yet don’t recognise you’re showing signs of being addicted to your phone.
You probably rely on your phone to improve your health by using apps to keep your diet on track and chart fitness progress. While that may help you, being so attached to your phone does not.
Research, published in journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, found viewing your phone after dark meant poor quality sleep and reduced focus at work the following day.
What’s more, the effect of light at night is classified as a probable carcinogen, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. While reducing the blue light from your phone will help (as this is what interferes with sleep hormone production), it won’t prevent your brain being stimulated by what you view, keeping you awake longer.
Download Moment, a free app which tracks phone usage. Once you’re aware how much time you’re spending on your phone, take the first step towards addressing your addiction – by banning your phone from the bedroom.
This alone will allow you to sleep better and be both chirpier and more focused the following day.
MOSTLY Bs… Under control
Congratulations, while your phone is essential to your life, just as it is for the rest of us, you’ve got this sorted.
You place value on tech-free time enjoying real-life social interactions while also partaking in the online versions.
So take yourself to cellular nirvana by quitting social media for 24 hours at a time – you may find you don’t need it at all.
MOSTLY Cs… Seek help now!
You’re crying out for help but the only way you know how to do it is via a social network. You’ve become so attached to your phone it’s almost like family.
Research from Kansas State University, US, has found people who are reliant on their phones got as panicked about misplacing it as they would if a member of the family went missing.
This intense fear of losing the connectivity of your phone so that it affects your day-to-day life is called nomophobia and 66% of us suffer from it.
While you may think it’s doing no harm, research from the University of Essex suggests that even having a phone nearby can affect our attempts at interpersonal connection.
It’s time to seek help. There are several things you can do. You can go the DIY route and download a free trial of an app called Freedom which blocks you from social media sites for a specified amount of time. Start with an hour, then gradually increase.
Alternatively, seek professional help. Research from the University of Derby found 13% of people are genuinely addicted to their phones, leading to moodiness, jealousy, envy and loneliness. Consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (find a therapist at cbtregisteruk.com).
MOSTLY Ds… Not too late
You’re on the road to addiction but there’s still hope. First, delete any app you haven’t used in the last week or so.
Now temporarily disable all your social media apps and make a note of how you feel over the next few days. If you feel lost and alone, like you’re missing out on ‘life’, try regular temporary bans instead.
Researchers from Rutgers University, US, suggest the neurological effect from viewing social media apps is similar to the response you get from eating or drinking, leaving you feeling good but not for long.
Then you’re back. Keep set times each day when you can’t feed your addiction and you’ll wean yourself off it.