6 Signs You’re Addicted To Your Smartphone & How To Kick The Habit

Spend your days staring at a small screen? If you can relate to any of the following, your smartphone usage may be out of control...


Reckon you spend waaaay too much time glued to your smartphone? You’re not alone. According to a study by Harvard Business School, 70% of people said they check their smartphone within an hour of getting up, while another study claims that one in 10 Irish people check their smartphones 160 times a day.

While that may seem excessive, experts say they’ve seen a rise in smatphone-related illnesses such as hand, eye and posture problems, anxiety and Nomophobia, AKA the fear of being without your phone.

So what are the warning signs that your smartphone usage is, er, beyond normal? Here are a few things to look out for…

1. You panic when your phone is out of eye shot

Feeling slightly anxious even though you know your phone is lying on the couch in the other room? Smartphone separation anxiety is becoming more and more common. If you feel jittery, unedge or a little bit tetchy when your phone is outside your line of vision, then it might be time to rethink your usage.

2. You’re thinking about your next Instagram post rather than being present in the moment

A big part of smartphone addiction is its links to social media, and the ‘high’ achieved from racking up those likes on Facebook and Instagram. We love to share, but if you’re contstantly pulling out your phone at special moments, and relying on ‘likes’ for a quick confidence boost, it might be best to start leaving your phone at home.

3. You sleep beside it

Hands up, who’s got the guilts? Sleeping beside your phone isn’t only bad because it disrupts your sleep, experts say there’s also been a rise in instances of sleep texting, where people have sent messages while they’re out for the count, with no recollection of doing so come morning. If that’s not a good enough reason to leave it in the other room then we don’t know what is.

4. You can’t remember the last time you switched it off

Come to think of it, you’re not sure if you’ve ever switched off – and no, your battery dying mid-WhatsApp convo doesn’t count. Having your phone constantly switched on isn’t just bad for your battery life, it’s also pretty detrimental to your sanity. If your phone never switches off, how can you be expected to?

5. You’re glued to it when you’re socialising

It’s a pet peeve among your friends but you just can’t seem to cut it out. If you realise you’ve missed half the convo because you’ve been scrolling through Facebook, replying to emails or Instagraming your food, it’s definitely a warning sign. We’re all guilty of sending a sneaky text when we should be listening to our friends, but doing it excessively is when it crosses over to addiction territory.

6. You communicate more on WhatsApp than you do in real life

Got several conversations going on WhatsApp, a bunch of private messages on Facebook and a stack load of friendships with people you follow on Snapchat? If you spend more virtual time with people online, rather actual face-to-face time with your social circle, it might be time for a digital detox. Repeat after us: strangers on Snapchat are not your real friends.


How to kick the habit

As one STELLAR staffer recently found out when she was left iPhone-less for two months, curbing your smartphone usage is a worthwhile endeavour. Among the many benefits, Laura found she felt less stressed, less pressure to constantly be ‘switched on’ and had more free time for doing the things she enjoyed.

So, with this in mind, how do you do it?

Track your usage

The first step is getting to know how much you actually use your phone. Download a tracking app like Moment or Eyzup for a roundup of how long you spend using it on the daily. A quick look at the hours you’ve spent mindlessly scrolling through Facebook may be enough to shock you into putting down your phone.

Figure out why you always check your phone

Is it boredom? Or the thrill of receiving new notifications? Look to other things that entertain you. Would you receive the same reward from reading a book or meeting up with friends?

Set limitations

Once you know how and why you’re glued to your phone on the reg, aim to reduce the time spent using it. Keep it on silent with vibrate turned off too so you’re not constantly interrupted with messages and notifications.