Help! I feel like I’m addicted to my smartphone. What can I do?

Dear Friend,

I always feel like I’m being controlled by my phone. What should I do?

Best, Cellie


Dear Cellie,

We understand why you’re so stressed! Smartphones have contributed to the feeling of always having to be “on” – always available to reach, and always plugged into the latest news and gossip.

Smartphones have become such a huge part of our lives. In Hong Kong, we can’t even leave our homes without them, since we need to scan the “Leave Home Safe” app everywhere we go.

This need to always be “on” is not good for us – it leads to increased levels of stress and depression. Not to mention that “doomscrolling” – continuously scrolling through bad news – can make us feel anxious.

While you can’t solve the problem of smartphone addiction overnight, we hope these tips can help you get some relief:

– Limit how long and how much you use your phone by setting aside a particular time and place for phone use. For example, you might only allow yourself to use it during certain times of the day, such as for 20 minutes after school, or you could use it as a way to reward yourself for finishing your homework or chores. You can also decide your phone doesn’t belong at the dinner table, encouraging yourself to chat with your family instead of scrolling through Instagram.

– Don’t bring your phone to bed. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your sleeping patterns, plus you might delay going to sleep because you’re too engrossed in the news, social media or talking to your friends. Read a book instead!

– Engage regularly in outdoor activities, such as jogging, bicycling, or hiking, so that you can shift your focus away from your phone.

– Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling while watching television? Find something else to do with your hands! Do a puzzle, draw, knit or find another activity that you can do while also watching your favourite show.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend

This was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.
Source: Young Post