Human lives have accidentally been synchronized with multiple gadgets, so every minute multiple smart devices can be seen on one person.
Gadgets like smartphones, smartwatches, computers, earbuds, Airpods, among others, have become daily tools for almost every child and adult.
Undoubtedly, addiction to gadgets leads to addiction. A survey conducted among adult and teen gadget users in the United States reports that an average smartphone user checks their phone every 12 minutes, while 50 percent of respondents feel uncomfortable not having their phone with them.
Another study states that people who are away from their devices, especially cell phones, for long hours begin to show withdrawal symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure.
One health journal, Harvard Health Blog, defines addiction as a relationship between a person and an object or activity, such that the latter always becomes more important than the previous activities.
Maocular Tech Expert’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Akinwumi, says that gadget addiction is a habit made over time that becomes or forms into a habit or character.
Also, a technology expert and founder of a software development company, e86 Limited, Olugbenga Odeyemi, says that gadget addiction kicks in when the tools designed to make tasks easier start affecting people’s quality of life.
The consequences of gadget addiction include lack of concentration and attention span, memory loss, stress and anxiety, headaches, eye problems and back pain. Overall, gadget addiction harms one’s physical, emotional and mental state.
The road to recovery from addiction can take time, but it is possible if conscious and intentional steps are taken.
Fighting gadget addiction requires setting a reasonable goal and taking a conscious and disciplined approach to achieve the goal.
Akinwumi says conscious efforts should be made to reduce dependency on devices in daily activities.
Odeyemi adds, “One of the best ways to break gadget addiction is to plan activities that don’t require you to spend too much time with your devices. Giving up gadgets can be accomplished through the use of card games, board games, paperbacks, and outings with friends and family.”
Also, Onyekachi Nwaozuzu, accounting software specialist and CEO of Leadway Training and Technology Institute, says discipline is a skill that gadget users must have.
Nwaozuzu notes, “Before the advent of technology, we were once human. The essence of technology is to make us effective people, not liabilities, so discipline in using devices is important.”
Reduce social media browsing
Social media applications account for 44 percent of an average user’s gadget usage. The results show that there are 3.8 billion active social media users worldwide and an average user spends an hour and 16 minutes on the top five social media apps every day.
Odeyemi says: “I believe that people should spend less time discussing on social media and more time learning from others. You don’t have to agree with every thought or idea, nor do you have to respond to everything and everyone. One of the reasons people spend so much time with gadgets is the need to argue, which leads to stress and dissatisfaction.”
Use timed apps
Time controlling applications can be used to break gadget addiction.
Akinwumi states that there are applications on smart devices that monitor the time spent on each application and can be programmed to restrict selected functions during certain periods of time.
He adds: “There is an application on smartphones called Digital Wellbeing that tells the user the number of hours they have spent using an application. With this application one can also set the timing for the rest. During this time you have limited access to the applications on the device. Applications such as Offtime and Rescuetime also help monitor the number of hours spent on the device and limit application usage, among other things.”
Odeyemi also advises: “Another option is to create a sleep schedule (on the devices). Every day at 8:30pm all my devices go into sleep mode. If I activate this mode, I no longer receive notifications for chats and phone calls. It allows me to switch off and focus on other things while I get ready for bed.”
Switch to non-screen activities
The reliance on gadgets for simple and mundane tasks has made human activities revolve around them.
But Akinwunmi says, “We need to rest from our devices and engage in outdoor activities. For example, to avoid the temptation to use your smart devices to check the time, you can use an analog clock. This eliminates the temptation to use your gadget to check the time and then get carried away.”
Nwaozuzu also calls for an engagement in outdoor activities to combat device addiction.
He adds: “Frequently have direct contact with nature without the interference of devices. Also, physically hang out with people, read books the traditional way, and make a rule to put your device away when it’s time to sleep.”
Having an accountability partner would further help ensure the commitment to be free from addiction.
Akinwunmi says, “Most of the people who are addicted to their devices are not because they use them for work purposes. Therefore, an accountability partner would serve as a check and balance. However, in some cases it may be necessary for the person to seek professional help.
Plan your day
Nwaozuzu notes that daily activities should not depend on the use of devices, so adequate time should be devoted to other daily tasks.
He adds that once individuals plan their day, the rules need to be set to ensure the day goes as planned.
Define the use of gadgets
“Unless the purpose is known, abuse is inevitable,” says Myles Munroe. To that end, Nwaozuzu advises gadget users to define the use of each gadget in their work and personal lives.