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Which would you go without for a week: your cell phone, your best friend, or good food? Chances are, it’s not your phone.
Seventy-three percent of Canadians own smartphones. Users check their email 11 times per day and send/receive an average of 30 text messages every 48 hours.
Addcitive brain chemistry
Text messages and phone notifications release dopamine, the same feel-good chemical triggered by eating sugar and having sex. “If you can’t use your phone, you may get uncomfortable and agitated. It’s the same as any other addiction,” says Dr. Neal Berger, Executive Director of The Cedars at Cobble Hill, British Columbia, who specializes in addictions.
Losing control while driving
Over a third of Canadian drivers use a cell phone illegally while driving, according to 2014 TELUS survey. Eighty percent of Canadians aged 16—20 report texting while driving.
Worse grades and worse sleep
More than 80 percent of students acknowledge that their gadgets interfere with their learning, and one in four says it hurts their grades, according to a study published in the Journal of Media Education last year. In addition, phone use is a common sleep disruptor—and sleep disruption just makes everything horrible.
How to get your texting under control:
- Test yourself: Think you can get away with texting while driving? Maybe you’ve been lucky. That will change. Check out the online distracted driving simulator by the Canadian Automobile Association.
- Set the mood: Know where your phone is welcome—and where it isn’t.
- Use an app or #x: Use an app like Anti-Testing/Mobile Distraction to block phone functions that can be distracting while driving. Or text #x to let friends know you’re driving.
- Reality check: When you can measure something, you can manage it. Use an app like Moment (iPhone) or BreakFree(Android) to track how much time you’re spending on your phone. Try it, then see if you can resist texting about it. Or take the Smartphone Abuse Test.
- Play a game: When eating or getting together with friends, put all of your phones on silent in the middle of the table. Whoever checks their phone first has to pay for dinner or clean the dishes.
- Find your voice: Sometimes it’s hard to remember the last time we picked up a phone to call anyone besides relatives or the pizza guy. Next time you want to make plans or check in with a friend, try talking.
Set the mood
|Activity||Where to put the phone||Make it easier|
|Driving||In the trunk||Ask for a stand-alone GPS as a gift, buy one instead, or try Freecycle|
|Going to bed||Charge it in a different room||Dig out your old alarm clock|
|On a date||In the car||Suggest that your date do the same|
|On vacation||Leave it in the hotel||Use a digital or disposable camera|
|At the gym||In your locker||Use an mp3 player or iPod|
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