What are the signs of cell phone addiction?

Adam Alred • 06 Feb 2023 • 4 min read

Whether we like it or not, cell phones have become an essential tool for practically everyone in the modern day. And no matter where you go, you likely use your cell phone to keep in touch with people, pass the time with entertainment, and act as a navigator so you can always find where you need to go.

Simply put, the technology held inside mobile phones has made them an integral part of day-to-day life that most people can’t live without. However, this also comes with one core problem – the potential to develop cell phone dependency.

Stats show that the average person spends several hours a day on their phones without even realizing it! Not only that, but 71% of people say they sleep with or near their phone, with another 60% of college students freely admitting to cell phone addiction.

In other words, there’s a good chance that the majority of smartphone users around the world are potentially at high risk of developing a cell phone addiction by complete accident.

Fortunately, like any addiction, cell phone dependency can be overcome. Keep reading to learn more about how to break cell phone addiction, and the signs and symptoms to watch out for in the future.

What is cell phone dependency?

Cell phone addiction can be defined as a person having an unhealthy reliance on their phone, to the point that they may get stressed or agitated when their phone is not within reach.

In most cases, an individual with this sort of addiction will be on their phone at every opportunity, even in cases when they think they’re doing something else, which can in turn lead to numerous personal and social problems.

But how do you know if someone is truly dependent on their phone? What’s the actual difference between spending some free time on your device and feeding a problematic addiction?

What are the symptoms of cell phone addiction?

While there’s no clear line between standard phone use and addiction, there are a few questions you can ask yourself if you’re worried you’ve developed a cell phone addiction, such as:

  • Do you spend more time on your phone than you realize?
  • Instead of doing something productive with your time, do you mindlessly scroll through your phone?
  • Do you spend more time talking to people online than in real life?
  • Do you lose track of time when you use your phone?
  • Do you interrupt your day-to-day life to check your phone?
  • Do you sleep with your phone right next to you?
  • Do you lose sleep by staying up late scrolling on your phone
  • Are you anxious or agitated if you’re away from your phone for a little while?

Chances are the answers to these questions may lend themselves to something other than an official diagnosis. Therefore, it’s essential to consider if your phone time has been slowly increasing over time.

What are the effects of cell phone dependency?

Although mobile phone reliance is not officially listed as an addiction disorder, like gambling or alcohol reliance, over the years, it has become very apparent that there are clear physical and psychological effects of cell phone addiction.

Among the physical side effects that can pop up from constant cell phone use, you may experience any or all of the following:

  • Eye strain (including itchy or burning eyes, blurred vision, fatigue, pain, and discomfort)
  • Neck problems, specifically tech-neck or other posture-related issues
  • Increased exposure to illness from gathering germs on the phone’s surface
  • Injury potential from car accidents if you’re using your phone while driving

As for the psychological effects of cell phone addiction, these can include, but are not limited to:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

How to break cell phone addiction

Needless to say, the impact of cell phone reliance on an individual’s life can be very serious if not treated early. Thankfully, this is much easier to do than you might initially think.

If you suspect you might be addicted, the first thing you can try is to set aside a little bit of time every week, a day or even a couple of hours, where you intentionally put your phone away and do something with family and friends that doesn’t require technology. This will help to reset your brain and train it not to constantly need to look at a screen.

You could also opt for what’s known as a reset experiment. This is where you set up your phone so that you can only use it to make calls or text somebody, and literally nothing else. There are many apps out there that you can use to help with this, locking other parts of your phone so you can’t access them easily.

On a more general level, you could download an app that locks your phone for better focus or set daily usage limits on your most used apps. You can even change the settings on your phone to turn off notifications, prevent updates by putting your phone in airplane mode, and using the do not disturb option so your phone remains silent.

Finally, the number one best thing you can do to reduce your screen time is to ensure you don’t charge your phone next to your bed. Doing so cuts down on sleep-related issues, helping you to recharge properly instead.

And if you move your phone far enough away, it may not be the first thing you look at when you wake up, so you can put your focus on something more meaningful in the mornings.

Of course, if you really do think you’re addicted, then the best thing to do is to reach out to your doctor, friends, or family for help. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction to get professional treatment.

Use phones smartly with VoiceNation

Hopefully, with everything we’ve covered, you should now have a better understanding of what cell phone reliance is and how to treat it. Remember, with smart phone usage, you should be able to avoid mobile phone dependency altogether.

And speaking of using phones smartly. If you want to get more out of the calling potential of your business, then you might want to consider working with our team at VoiceNation. Our expert Virtual Receptionists are professionally trained to provide a seamless Live Answering Service, no matter your business’s function.

Why not get in touch today to learn more about our price packages and free trial? And don’t forget to browse our other informative blogs, such as our pieces on the evolution of communication and the highest-grossing mobile apps of all time.

By Adam Alred

VP of IT @ VoiceNation