Everyone says smartphones make us dumber. And if we do not get dumber, we get lazier. Actually, there are a lot of fears that smartphones affect our brain. Whether it is true or not is a controversial issue. New technologies have brought both good and bad into our lives. However, if you notice that the smartphone takes too much of your time, read the tips that will urge you to introduce some qualitative changes.
Scientists are trying to determine what effect the latest technology and the Internet have on our brain. Anyone can say the influence is positive, since they help us to work and find useful information. But what are the downsides of technology?
Does your smartphone affect you?
Here is an example. Remember your life before the purchase of the first computer. Remember how you had to watch programs on a huge TV set. It was not possible to select a program and immediately start watching it. Sometimes there was no way of knowing what was being broadcast at the moment. You had to memorize the time of your favorite TV show announced in commercial breaks, search the TV program or ask your friends. Everyone kept a “database” of their favorite shows in their head as well as the information about the time and channel they were on (we even knew the right button on the remote control).
Some may argue that in the past we spent too much time trying to find the answers that today can be found immediately. But at the same time, information searching and storing helped us to retain it in memory better.
So it is the matter of concern that few people keep useful information in mind nowadays. Whatever needs to be said, 10 years ago we knew almost all the telephone numbers of our relatives and friends by heart.
Just think how much life has changed in the last 10 years: how many skills have been irretrievably lost, and how many bad habits have appeared. Will you still repair things, if you can quickly order new ones on the Web? Will you read books, if the media can deliver lots of new material? Will you watch TV when you can watch all the episodes of your favorite TV series online?
Many think that the changes that have occurred in recent years have changed lives for the better. It can really be so. However, if you feel the need to overcome the addiction to your smartphone, here are a few recommendations before you start with an addiction recovery program.
1. Install only useful applications
Apple, Google and Microsoft stores offer a huge number of applications. But what do you really need out of this variety? What is really useful?
When you read the description, almost all applications seem to be excellent. However, if you install all of the recommended applications, you will simply not have enough time to use them. Smartphone is good, but it should not be the only partner in life.
So what should you keep at hand? Only you can answer this question. Ask yourself: which function do I find hard to give up? Few people will give up the phone camera. Those who are accustomed to using navigation apps, will not want to print out the map. Many have given up carrying an MP3-player because a smartphone can do the same. Notes are easier to keep in a special app, without having to look for the right piece of paper in a pile of others. You can enumerate a lot more.
On the other hand, do you really need to know how many steps have you made a day? Do you need incessant notifications of every piece of world news? Is it necessary to make spontaneous purchases through dozens of shopping apps? Consider the fact that such fast-food apps can take several years of your life.
We keep buying brand new phones, installing more and more applications, spending more and more time with the gadget in hand. Don’t you get the feeling that you do not need this? Try to get rid of the majority of applications, and then see how many of them you miss.
2. Install a few games (or other time-killers)
Games for your phone are several times cheaper than their counterparts for game consoles and PCs. They do not need additional equipment. It is an undeniable benefit. Your games are always with you.
A game console has to be connected to the TV, and it means that you have to stay at home to play. With a console, it is easier to forget about the time and play for too long. With smartphones you’ll be distracted from the game every time someone calls you.
So now that you’ve spent countless hours throwing birds, breaking candy, defending cities, have you become better? Think about the things that you wanted to do and haven’t begun yet. For example, you wanted to learn to cook well. You amassed a pile of books to read. Going to the gym can be expensive, but many exercises can be done at home.
We do not want to say that time spent playing is wasted. We want to say that you have spent time on the game rather than doing what has long been planned.
In fact, it is not about limiting game time. Does it happen that you flip through Facebook news to see what’s appeared in the last 4 minutes? Do you view Tumblr images when you want to idle? Now you know what applications prevent you from being productive.
Feeling bored is normal. And there is nothing strange that sometimes you want to kick stones, while standing at a bus stop. Sometimes it is funny to read the inscriptions on the WC walls. At such moments, our imagination comes to life. The reason why many of us think better in the shower is in the fact that we are not distracted by anything and concentrate on ourselves.
3. Look for long content
Every adult who has had to communicate with children says children do not know how to hold attention. It can also be said about the parents and inattentive office workers, who cannot focus on one task for a long time.
Most of the content on the web can be quickly read or looked through. Who could have thought that people would go crazy about 6-second videos? When all entertainment is placed in one smartphone, the content should be devoured in a few seconds, whereas messages and alerts should come at any time. As you can see, the phone does not increase the level of concentration.
But the truth is that you can find more material in your smartphone than any library can hold. He, who seeks, will always find.
Books? You read them on your phone. Magazines? They are there as well. Although devices change, the words remain the same. Longreads can be found on many sites.
4. Do not do everything on one device
The smartphone can replace a computer, books, magazines, newspapers, MP3-players, GPS-navigators, video and photo cameras, TVs, game consoles, alarm clocks, radios, calculators and many other things, but that does not mean that it should be used to cope with everything.
Of course, it might seem that the use of one smartphone in every possible way is a good way to save space and money, but just imagine how you can spend your day. Returning home from work, you realize you have missed the news. Next, you spend half an hour reading a good book before you watch two episodes of your favorite series. You play Fieldrunners for some time, read a couple of blogs, and go to sleep.
During all this time you stare at the phone.
Spending half an hour with a paper book in a cover and then playing on your console with a joystick, you get two very different experiences. You do it in different ways. The occupations do not seem to be the same. They change you.
You simply switch from one sedentary activity to another, but, at least, you have a variety of physical sensations. Besides, you will not be so obsessed with a single device, if you divide your sympathies between several things.
5. Remember where you are
This is a time-tested rule: if you are on the street, you are not alone and you are not sitting, perhaps you should not stare into the phone. Friends and colleagues are unlikely to want to talk with someone who looks as if he/she ignores them. Drivers and pedestrians are unlikely to deal with someone who does not even look where he/she is going.
Who wants to live in a perfect world, populated by the people who prefer to look at it through the prism of portable screens and images on the Internet?
Why do we have to call such people fools? Because their mind is not just the books they read and a good memory.
Do not get trapped by a smartphone; do not separate yourself from the world and other people.
Do not get rid of the smartphone either.
The smartphone is not going to kill you or destroy your cognitive abilities. It is simply a tool, like a book or a map. But we need to be aware of how we use it and whether it does not interfere with our life.
We’re not going to argue about the nature of smartphones and find out whether they can cause addiction. If reading a book is the first thing you do in the morning, and if you read it late at night, after work or at a time when you want to procrastinate – you are addicted to books too.
There is nothing wrong in looking for something, when there is a question. But sometimes, in addition to a rapid response, a deeper insight into the issue is required. It is useful for the brain to analyze the information and think about something on a regular basis. Do not let it get out of shape.
Right now, put your smartphone aside and get away from it. Do not worry, it’s not forever. Spending so much time with it does not benefit your relations with the device. Go for a walk. When you return, do not place your phone next to the bed. You will sleep better.
Do not completely abandon the technology. The phone has been with you during a great many of priceless moments. It helps you find your way home if you suddenly turn the wrong way. It will help you communicate in a video chat with the relatives who live on the other side of the world. Smartphones enrich our lives, but sometimes they need to be ruthlessly put aside because, as it happens with many other things, they should be consumed in moderation.