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Is Your Cell Phone Use Problematic?

When you look around these days, you are likely to see people with their eyes glued to their devices. The time we spend with our smart phones and devices seems to be increasing, even with children. While most of us will admit that we spend copious amounts of time on our phones, do you think it has, or can become, problematic?

According to James A. Roberts, PhD, a marketing professor at Baylor University’s Hankamer School Of Business, the six signs of addiction (behavioral or substance) can relate to our cell phone use and behaviors.

Do any of these statements ring true to you?

“I reach for my cell phone first thing in the morning.”

This statement embodies salience. Salience is a behavior that becomes deeply ingrained, almost like second nature, in your daily routine and takes over your thoughts and emotions.

Are you one of the many that sleep with their cell phone next to their bed? Try charging it elsewhere, or avoid checking your phone before 8am.

“I use my cell phone when I am bored.”

The excitement that comes just before or after the addictive behavior is known as euphoria. This relates to that feeling you may get when you hear an email or text message notification from your phone. To counter this effect, try setting your phone to silent every now and then.

“I am spending more and more time on my cell phone.”

The need to reach an ever-increasing dose to reach a desired “high” is referred to as tolerance. New apps emerge every day, giving you access to new and different functions for your phone. With increased capabilities comes increased times spent using your phone, even at inappropriate times (ex. social functions). Try focusing on being in the moment and keeping your device in your pocket or out of sight.

“I become anxious or agitated when my cell phone is out of sight.”

This statement is akin to withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include stress, anxiety, irritability, desperation, and panic. Thanks to high costs and the amount of personal data on our phones, most of us have a fear our phones getting lost or stolen. However, if this fear consumes your thoughts, there might be a bigger issue.

“People have complained about my cell phone use.”

When something is interfering with your daily life, people will notice. Maybe you take calls in the middle of conversations, or your cell phone use is negatively affecting your work performance. Confronting the problem, whether your spouse, your coworker, or your children bring it up, may end in conflict.

Open and effective communication can help to ease some conflict. If you are waiting for an important call, let others know. If you must take a call while out, make it brief, and be attentive when you return to your party.

“I can’t seem to cut back on my cell phone use even though I try.”

In regards to cell phone use, relapse happens when you set out with every intention to cut back, but a force that seems out of your control compels you to reach for your phone again. It’s important to remember this minor setback is not the end. It may be frustrating, but you can get back on track.

If you think you might have a problem with your cell phone use, there are ways you can cut back. Set aside a certain amount of time to be “unplugged” each day. As you acclimate, increase your “unplugged” times. Focus on being in the moment when you are out with others and resist the urge to reach for your phone.

Do you have any tips of your own? Share with your peers and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Is Your Cell Phone Use Problematic?
Are you worried that you might be too dependent on your smart phone? Check out these scenarios to see if you might have a problem.

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