Cell phone addiction: What signs there are, what you can do

Reading time 8 minutes
Cell phone addiction: What signs there are, what you can do

Cell phone addiction is one of the biggest problems of our time. You can see that many people are addicted to cell phones when you take a walk through the city. At bus stops and on park benches, children, teenagers and adults are fiddling with their cell phones. Electrified, they look at the small screen and seem to forget everything around them. Do you recognize yourself?

What is cell phone addiction?

There are many different addictions. Some people are addicted to alcohol, nicotine or drugs, for example. It is not possible for them to avoid the harmful Habits because the urge to consume unhealthy substances is too great. With the invention of the cell phone came a new problem: cell phone addiction. The symptoms are similar to those of other addictions.

You are probably asking yourself the question: What is cell phone addiction and how does it come about? In the meantime, the Smartphone has a permanent place in our lives. On average, we use our cell phones for around two hours a day and are used to being constantly reachable. One in four 18 to 29-year-olds even spends more than four hours on their cell phone. The boundaries to addiction are often blurred.

Although we mainly use our cell phones for communication, there is often a lack of real social contact. There are friends and acquaintances who write to each other via WhatsApp even though they are only a few meters apart. Paradoxically, mobile phones increase the risk of loneliness. Many people are forgetting how to have emotional conversations and look each other in the eye. An emoji is no substitute for a honest Smile.

What is nomophobia?

In addition to cell phone addiction, there is the so-called Nomophobia or no-mobile-phone-phobia, i.e. the fear of being without a cell phone. If you suffer from this disorder, the urge to use your cell phone is not excessive. Rather, you feel panic when you cannot be reached on your cell phone and are disconnected from the mobile network.

What to do about cell phone addiction?

The statistics speak a sad language. According to a Study of the DAK around six percent of all ten to 17-year-olds show clear addictive behavior when it comes to media consumption. Social media channels in particular cast a spell over many. The number of people affected has almost doubled since 2019.

Cell phone addiction is a serious problem. It leads to social isolation and acts as a time robber by blocking healthy leisure activities and lowering performance levels at work and school. If you only sit in front of a screen, you automatically move less, which is very unhealthy. The constant preoccupation with mostly superficial and meaningless content also has a negative effect on the psyche. The number of people suffering from depression is growing.

Cell phone addiction test

Cell phone addiction symptoms: How can you tell if you're addicted to cell phones?

Do you take every opportunity to play on your cell phone and check your emails every few minutes? Even if you are like many other people, this behavior is not normal. Think about whether you can use your cell phone time more wisely. Or is the addiction already so strong that you can no longer do it without help?

Some people are blind to their own problems and notice their own shortcomings and weaknesses in others first. It is quite possible that you notice cell phone addiction in friends, relatives and colleagues, even though you are affected by it yourself. Question their behavior and think about the extent to which there are parallels.

Cell phone addiction test: How do you find out if you are affected?

Are you experiencing symptoms of cell phone addiction, but don't know how severe they are and whether you actually suffer from the disorder? The number of hours you use your cell phone doesn't say much, because there are important and unimportant occasions. Take the cell phone addiction test now and check your smartphone behavior using the following questions:

  1. Can you imagine spending a day without an Internet connection and cell phone?
  2. Is your work performance affected by excessive cell phone use?
  3. Are you under stress when your cell phone reception is not optimal?
  4. Do you miss your cell phone when you don't have it with you?
  5. Do you try to hide your excessive cell phone use from others and play it down?
  6. Do you surf the Internet even when you don't actually want to? Time have for it?
  7. Do you lack the time for everyday things, such as household chores?
  8. Do you put other hobbies on the back burner and focus primarily on your cell phone?
  9. Do you spend less time with friends, in the swimming pool, at the club or on outings than you used to?
  10. You're in a hurry and haven't eaten breakfast yet. How do you use the short time you have left? Do you grab a snack or do you reach for your cell phone?

If you answer "yes" to most of the questions, then you have a real problem. It is now important to fight cell phone addiction.

What to do about cell phone addiction?

What can you do about cell phone addiction? Reduce media consumption. As with all addictions, only long-term abstinence will help. With cell phone addiction, withdrawal is often just as difficult for those affected as it is for people who are addicted to the Quit smoking or drinking. If you want to do something about cell phone addiction, you have to regain control of your life and resist the temptation.

What is behind cell phone addiction?

If you are addicted to your cell phone, then your cell phone is on most of the time. You feel the constant urge to check your message box and make calls. Without your cell phone, you suffer from nervousness and lack of concentration. In the worst case, you could suffer from depression and panic attacks. You have Fearbeing cut off from the network and missing out on something.

Cell phone addiction is based, among other things, on the compulsion to always be aware of all current events and to be constantly available. You keep an eye on everything and are afraid of events that you are not sufficiently informed about. However, the information is often superficial and conversations with others are largely irrelevant.

Internet and media addiction

Moreover, in many cases it is not the cell phone that makes you addicted, but the content posted online that creates the addiction. Many people get bogged down in social media channels and waste a lot of time in this way that could be put to better use elsewhere. The content on the internet is based on the principle of seduction. It is cleverly designed to arouse your curiosity and keep you glued to your phone for as long as possible. It's hard to simply keep scrolling.

In specialist circles, this is referred to as dwell time. The longer you stay on a page or platform, the more likely you are to be influenced by the advertising and the higher the revenue for the traders and influencers who earn from every click and collect hefty commissions. The internet is a huge business. If you know that, you know the mechanisms that lead you into addiction. With this background knowledge, it is easier to detach yourself from your cell phone and reduce the time you spend on it.

5 tips to combat cell phone addiction

These tips will help you to reduce your dependence on your cell phone and promote healthier use. It is important that you remain consistent and do not allow yourself to be tempted.

1. set yourself a time limit

Be consistent and set yourself a time slot that you reserve for cell phone use. For example, only use your cell phone for a maximum of two hours a day. An alarm clock will help you stick to your guidelines. Or ask a member of the household to look at the clock and then take the cell phone away from you.

2. keep a media diary

The best way to recognize your Errorwhen you analyze your media behavior. Many people don't even notice when they become more and more addicted. Write down your cell phone times in a small booklet and reflect on your media behavior later.

3. software for self-monitoring

Back in 2014, computer scientists and psychologists developed a Menthal app to measure and control cell phone consumption and usage time. Since 2018, there have been smartphone operating systems that limit usage and curb addictive behavior. With Digital Wellbeing, Google offers the option to switch the display to grayscale using a timer.

4. seek medical advice

Cell phone addiction is an addiction like any other and should definitely be taken seriously. Contact your family doctor if you are at a loss. If necessary, they will refer you to a psychotherapist. You can also often get the help you need at an addiction counseling center, as media addiction is unfortunately a widespread phenomenon these days.

5. find an experienced coach

The Coaching can help you to reflect on yourself and find a suitable way out of addiction.

Cell phone addiction and mindfulness: how to find balance

Create a Awareness for what is good for you and what is not. Many people reach for their cell phone in stressful situations or out of embarrassment. The cell phone has a calming effect on them at that moment. Learn Mindfulness and relaxation techniques and incorporate them into your everyday life instead of your cell phone. This is how you shape the Relationship to your cell phone more consciously and reduce stress-related use.

The role of coaching in overcoming cell phone addiction

Everyone People deal with their addictions differently around. Tackling cell phone addiction also requires a customized solution with individual approaches. A professional coach addresses your personal needs and offers help for self-help. Under his guidance, you will develop a strategy that will help you free yourself from cell phone addiction and shape your life freely. He will also help you to implement the strategy.

Fighting cell phone addiction

What can you do about cell phone addiction?

To reduce your dependence on your cell phone, reward yourself with something better. Find a hobby that distracts you and offers you more than the smartphone. Only use your cell phone at certain times and reward yourself when you manage to do without it. Treat yourself to a delicious ice cream sundae or go to the movies. Or book a short break at a wellness hotel and leave your phone at home.

No matter which strategy you choose, the measure will be most successful if you associate it with something positive. Make sure you don't get frustrated by not using your cell phone.

Fighting cell phone addiction: success stories and testimonials

Overcoming an addiction is difficult, but not impossible. Just as there are numerous dry alcoholics, there are people who have freed themselves from their cell phone addiction and reclaimed their lost time. The prerequisite for this is that you recognize your problem and get to grips with it.

Numerous cell phone addicts turned to a new hobby and even managed to make a profit from their passion for media. As influencers they earn moneyby reporting on their everyday sporting activities, excursions and offline activities. It is perfectly possible to organize your life in such a way that it offers space for different interests. Nobody has to give up their cell phone completely, but it makes sense to reduce consumption and steer it in an orderly direction.

Original ideas also lead to success. A extraordinary experiment was launched by the city of Bandung in Indonesia. The mayor and his team handed out chicks to the children to lure them away from their cell phones and offer them a meaningful activity by raising the animals.

Your path to a balanced digital life

The cell phone is an integral part of our lives. This will not change in the future. It offers enormous advantages, but also harbors the danger of addiction. Find the right balance and learn to to consciously decide against too much. Go more mindful with cell phone use and lead a balanced and relaxed life. Our free masterclass "How to fill your inner emptiness" shows you how to be happy without your cell phone.

with Dieter Lange

"From tiredness of life to joie de vivre"

Do you often feel stressed, disoriented and flooded with stimuli? Do you have the feeling that, despite success and recognition, you have lost the lightness of everyday life? Do you sometimes ask yourself: "Is that all there is?"
approx. 60 minutes
Theory & practice
Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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