Time to hang up: How to stop phone addiction for students

how to stop phone addiction for students
Source: AFP

Our mobile devices are essentially glued to our hands, so finding out how to stop phone addiction for students can be tricky.

In today’s digital age, smartphones have become a key part of our lives.

The pandemic did not help, as screens became our only way to safely communicate and connect with people

For students, these devices are not just tools for communication but also powerful distractions that can hinder us from achieving our true academic potential. Worse, they can make us feel pretty bad about ourselves.

The constant allure of social media updates, notifications, and the endless sea of apps can lead to a pervasive issue – phone addiction.

In a snowstorm, will you be willing to leave your phone behind? Source: AFP

How to know if you’re addicted to your phone

How do you even know you are addicted? Here are some things to look out for:

  • A feeling of anxiety when your phone isn’t within reach, or you don’t have cell phone service.
  • Phone use interferes with your daily activities, chores, and tasks.
  • Smartphone usage has ruined your vacation with family or spoiled social events with friends.
  • Experiencing injuries or harmful effects due to cell phone usage, such as neck pain or eye strain.
  • Losing sense of time due to cell phone distractions.
  • Withdrawal from the physical world, distancing oneself from friends, family, and activities once enjoyed.
  • Smartphone usage has put an important relationship or profession in jeopardy.
  • Previous attempts to limit cell phone usage haven’t succeeded.

There are some alarming stats for 2023 because of this addiction.

About 99% of users are scared and anxious if their phones are accidentally left behind, and a horrifying 66% of smartphone owners have shown signs of addiction to it.

While people check their phones an average of 58 times daily, it is reported that adults in the US check their phones over 96 times every day.

There are more worrying numbers when you consider teenagers.

It is reported that 52% of teens prefer to fiddle on their phones silently than to mingle when they are together with friends.

Also, 48% prefer to spend time with their close friends online rather than face-to-face.

All of this is highly worrying as phone addiction can affect your mental and physical health.

how to stop phone addiction for students

It is tricky to learn how to stop phone addiction for students. Source: AFP

How to stop phone addiction for students and why it’s so bad for you

Being addicted to your phone can lead to a many health issues. This includes:

  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Thrombocytopenia (when you platelet count drops too low)
  • Anaemia
  • Hypertension
  • And other cardiovascular diseases

When looking at how to stop phone addiction for students, you must remember that the above list is only some of the bad effects.

As your phone transmits a blue-enriched light, using it before bed can disrupt your sleep cycle. Bad sleep worsens our memory, attention and decision-making — none of which is fun or great for school.

Being addicted to your phone has also been reported to reduce the amounts of grey matter in specific parts of the brain.

Staring at a screen all day can also affect your eyesight, give you headaches and strain your neck. In the most extreme cases, you may get a slipped disc, i.e. when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out.

10 best tips on how to stop phone addiction for students

1. Digital detox days

You don’t have to lock your phone away forever. Instead, designate specific days each week for a digital detox.

During these days, turn off non-essential notifications, avoid social media, and limit overall phone use.

Engage in activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or spending quality time with friends and family.

Spending time without your phone should become an essential part of your life — not the other way around.

Try not to fall back on excuses and find ways around them. For instance, if you think you want to take photos on your walk, bring a camera.

If you want to make notes while at a cafe, have a notebook on you.

Opt for a physical book instead of a Kindle and play board games instead of video games with friends and family.

Soon your phone will go back to being a useful addition to your life instead of an addiction.

 

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2. Set boundaries. The clearer, the better.

How to stop phone addiction for students? One of the first steps is to establish clear boundaries.

Create specific time slots for phone use and set periods of uninterrupted focus on schoolwork.

Look for apps that limit your access to distracting content during study hours — these are good to add discipline in phone usage.

In the same way some apps will help you study, consider programmes that limit your usage.

While some brands, such as Apple, have an in-built timer, a specific app might help you stay consistent.

Here are a few that will help you limit your screen time on Both Android and IOS:

Which do you want to be? The man on the left enjoying our planet’s wonders or the lady doomscrolling on the right?Source: AFP

3. Be mindful

Practise mindful consumption of digital content.

Be aware of the time spent on each app and set realistic limits.

Uninstall apps that contribute to mindless scrolling and replace them with educational or productivity-focused alternatives.

While useful, apps like TikTok and Instagram are built to keep you scrolling for as long as possible.

This can make you dissociate from reality if you are not careful.

Some opt for a 30-day reset, where you use only the basic uses of your phone (making calls and texts). This is best for those who prefer a cold turkey method.

Being intentional about your phone usage will help it become a useful tool rather than a hindrance.

4. Create a distraction-free study environment

Establish a  study space that is free from distractions, including your phone.

Turn off notifications or use the “Do Not Disturb” mode to create an environment conducive to focused learning.

You can also go as far as to keep your phone in another room or space to ensure that you can stay focused.

Other ways to ensure you have a good study space:

  • Invest in good lighting
  • Make it comfortable with a good chair and desk
  • Give yourself enough room to move in and keep what you need out
  • Keep it clean and stay organised
  • Personalise it with motivational art or conducive colours
how to stop phone addiction for students

To know how to stop phone addiction for students, be mindful of where you put your charger. Source: AFP

5. Don’t charge your phone near your bed

Charging your phone away from your bed can be an effective strategy to reduce late-night scrolling.

This simple act helps create a boundary between your digital life and your sleep environment, promoting a healthier bedtime routine.

Take it a step further by ensuring that your charger is only in spaces that you don’t need to stay focused in.

Perhaps your kitchen or your living room would work, as these are not spaces where you need to focus solely on rest or work.

No, you don’t need to keep up with your friends shopping at the mall. Source: AFP

6. Forget about FOMO

The internet and endless scrolling have an uncanny ability to make you feel like you are not doing enough with your life.

You must remember that what people post online are the best moments, the highlights of their lives and often do not include the nitty gritty happenings of day-to-day life.

You should recognise and address the fear of missing out (FOMO). Understand that constant connectivity doesn’t equate to a fulfilling life.

Take breaks from social media and focus on the present moment, appreciating the richness of offline experiences.

You will come to appreciate your life for what it is instead of comparing it to what you see online.

how to stop phone addiction for students

Understand your triggers to be less reliant on your phone. Source: AFP

7. Identify triggers

How to stop phone addiction for students? Recognise the situations or emotions that trigger excessive phone use.

Whether it’s stress, boredom, or a need for distraction, pinpointing these triggers empowers you to address the root cause and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Knowing what these triggers are will help you keep track of how you’re feeling and regulate your need for your phone.

By understanding your motives, you can proactively work towards not picking up your phone.

8. Engage in offline hobbies

Rediscover the joy of offline hobbies and activities.

Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, engaging in sports, or pursuing a creative endeavour, diversifying your interests beyond the digital realm can significantly reduce reliance on smartphones.

Hobbies are also a great way to be a part of different communities. Interacting with other people who also want to learn a new skill or try a new hobby enriches your experience.

You can also have your newfound friendships hold you accountable for keeping up with said hobbies. That way, you are less likely to slip back into your phone addiction.

how to stop phone addiction for students

How to stop phone addiction for students? Interact with people in person and pick up new hobbies. Source: AFP

9. Establish face-to-face connections

Instead of commenting on TikTok, try saying hi to your friends in person.

Schedule regular meetups with friends, join group activities, and engage in social events.

Building strong real-world connections can help alleviate the need for constant virtual validation.

The pandemic definitely showed us the impact of not having face-to-face interactions.

In fact, a survey found that 65% of students prefer in-person learning.

10. Seek professional support

If phone addiction begins to significantly impact your school performance or mental health, consider seeking professional support.

School counsellors, psychologists, or support groups can offer guidance and strategies tailored to your specific situation.

Talking about it with friends or others who have experienced phone addiction is certainly an effective method of how to stop phone addiction for students.