In this day and time, nobody is seen without a smartphone in their hands. At times, an individual even owns more than one mobile device. Some would say their intentions for owning more than one is so they could separate work calls from personal calls. However in time, the truth changes to actually having them as a backup for each other. If the other device ran out of battery, then they have another one to still keep them in touch with the virtual world.

Many could relate to that sentiment. We have become too dependent to our smartphones and mobile devices that it has become a vital essence in our everyday lives. This addiction has become a real problem to us if not physically, then at least emotionally and socially.

In our minds, we are telling the smartphones to serve us – navigate me to this café, get my emails for me, what’s the latest news, post this new recipe I just tried; etc – but in reality it is the other way around. Our smartphones are the ones commanding us like the master that they are – battery’s 75% charge me!, connect me to Wi-Fi now!, hey read this new email, new hipster café check in this instant!.

Somehow, the technology we created to simplify our daily lives became the master that we so willingly enslaved ourselves too. Have you ever had a sudden rush of panic attack when you can’t see your phone within an arm’s reach? Do we constantly check if both our mobile devices are in our bag or pocket when we’re outside every 5 minutes?

That shows that we are no longer in control of our lives. Instead, we have turned into a FOBO (Fear of Being Offline) and a Nomophobia (fear of being out of mobile phone contact). We shouldn’t let our smartphones dictate us. It is time that we regain authority over our smartphones because it has interrupted our lives in a psychological aspect.

#1 What Is Real Life Interaction?

This is saddening but it’s the truth. When you’re out at the mamak with your friends, do you tend to diddle with your smartphone instead of having a full conversation with them? If the answer is yes then you have a serious problem my friend.

Be it out for dinner, group discussion or karaoke session we just can’t seem to leave our smartphones unattended. It kills the momentum and flow of conversations not to mention rude. There will be a lot of awkward silence moments because we ran out of topic to converse on faster than we expect.

#2 To Prioritize or To Not Prioritize

As mentioned earlier, this technology has been created to simplify our daily tasks such as giving us accurate navigation to new places, taking notes or documenting our life experiences but we used these helpful features as an excuse to be less productive. Mobile games, videos, music and especially social media feeds distract us from what’s important. We just don’t know how to prioritize anymore. Initially, we wanted to search up the nearest restaurant but then a notification pops up for example a Facebook comment or a new Like on your Instagram post or a group chat prompt and we lose sight of our actual intention because we have this urgent need to reply or act upon the notifications.

#3 A Change In Behavior

Do we even notice that our behaviors are changing slowly? The more time we spent buried in our smartphones the lesser human interaction we have which as mentioned in point #1 affecting more than just verbal communication. This could also cause major cracks in our relationships with loved ones. Instead of having face-to-face conversations or disagreements in a calm environment, we take it to Facebook or Twitter. Not only that, we get depressed easily over some status post such as an overseas trip, a new Chanel bag, a job promotion, relationship status changed to Married etc. because we just can’t help but to compare our own life achievements to theirs.

So how do we go about it? There is hope but it requires a strong willpower to change because the only sensible way to overcome this is to simply have some time apart from our smartphones when there is no need for it. We tend to create excuses to use it when in actuality there is none. If we could just follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn off notifications from unnecessary apps. Just think about it carefully, in reality not every notifications we get requires immediate action.
  2. Schedule phone-free periods everyday preferably at night so you can focus on pampering yourselves for those who lives alone or connecting with your family by asking them about their day, play board games and so on.
  3. Place your smartphone far away from where you rest or sleep after setting alarm clock or when charging. This will also help you from hitting that snooze button. No more late mornings!
  4. During mamak session with your friends get everyone to put their smartphones in the middle of the table and nobody is allowed to touch it until it’s time to leave. First person to succumb to temptation pays for everyone’s drinks.

And we are on our way to the road of recovery. It is going to be tough but our lives are not made of retweets, comments or Likes. It’s time to be a wise smartphone user and reclaim a life that’s more fulfilling and geared towards true happiness.

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