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Tips on How To Fight Cell Phone Addiction

hands holding cell phone in front of button-down shirt
Peter Lenzini, De Smet Jesuit

10 tips to control your cell phone usage from Dean of Students Mr. Lenzini plus links to additional resources.

Take an inventory of your cell phone use.
Before you make any changes to your habits, it is best to know how much time you spend on your phone and the nature of your cell phone usage. There are a few cell phone applications that are designed to conduct an audit of your cell phone usage (e.g. Space, Moment, Rescue Time). Pay attention to the urge to check your phone. Why do you want to check it? Do you experience phantom rings?

Consider eliminating some or all of your social networks.
If you feel you need some of these networks, consider checking these from a laptop instead of your phone.

Establish physical separation when you work.
Our ability to work, to be present to others in our community, and to be attune to our own spiritual and emotional needs is greatly affected by our devices. Leave your phone in one room and do homework in another room.

Set phone free zones/times.
Whether it be for family dinners, time with friends, or time to pray and meditate, carve out specific times when you are free of your phone.

Turn off notifications except from family and friends.
Set your notifications to vibrate. 

Do not sleep with your phone.
Cell phones affect sleep patterns. Research shows that teenagers need sleep but they are getting less of it now that they did 20 years ago. Keep the phone in the other room. You can keep the ringer on for emergencies. Use a physical alarm clock.

Check in chunks.
Instead of reading every email, text, and post in real time, establish windows during your day to do these activities.

Turn on grey scale.
The most addictive applications use color and sound to trigger the dopamine feedback loop.

Question the motives of the engineers.
Be mindful of the motives of the engineers who design the apps you’re using. Many applications (especially social media applications) are designed with the express purpose of keeping you on the screen and building addictive behavior.  

Model behavior.
Consider the behavior you would like to see from friends and family and make this your own.


For more tips and additional resources on how to manage cell phone use, please refer to these online articles:

7 Ways To Curb Your Smartphone Addiction Right Now

Coping With Cell Phone Addiction

  • Grohol, John M. “Coping with Cell Phone Addiction.” Psych Central, 8 Oct. 2018, psychcentral.com/lib/coping-with-cell-phone-addiction/

Take Control

  • “Take Control.” Center For Humane Technology, https://humanetech.com/resources/take-control/

Tools & Reminders For Parents

  • Sossel, Max. "Tools & Reminders For Parents." Center for Human Technology, http://humanetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Education-In-The-Age-Of-Distraction-Follow-Up-For-Website-updated6.24.19.pdf