It seems many families are looking to put down their devices and experience more of the real world this summer, amid growing fears that we’re all becoming addicted to our smartphones.
With reports estimating that the average smartphone owner checks their device some 33 times a day (a figure that rises to 90 among teenagers), many people feel this has become too much.
If you’re planning a digital detox over the coming months, author Catherine Price (who literally wrote the book on the subject: ‘How to Break Up With your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life’) has some tips.
First, Price advises smartphone users to simply become more aware of just how much their devices intrude upon their lives. Absently checking your phone may seem innocuous enough, but it may be making you feel you’re more divorced from your tech than you actually are. By setting limits, on the other hand, you’ll become more aware of each time you use a device, and start to realise how big a daily total of views you can rack up.
Price also advocates the use of apps to monitor and report back on smartphone usage. These can shine a light both on how long a smartphone is in use each day, and how many times it is accessed. This has the added benefit of illustrating times and scenarios which trigger people to pick up their smartphones – making it easier to identify these situations and avoid them in future.
Next, Price calls on smartphone owners to go for set spells without their devices. Whether this is half an hour with it switched off, or a short walk where the phone is left behind, these moments can start to build until users are able to attempt a full 24 hours smartphone-free.
One of the more prosaic recommendations concerned a phone’s features. Anyone reliant on their smartphones to wake them up in the morning, Price said, could easily invest in an actual alarm clock instead.
So whether you want to go a full 24-hour period without your device, or simply cut down on your usage, the techniques seem suitably straightforward: monitor usage, consider the trigger points, build slowly and – if you must – buy an alarm clock.