It’s late and you know you should have been asleep hours ago, but here you are again aimlessly scrolling through the socials one last time even though you have already done this countless times throughout the day. It seems, from the moment we wake up to the moment our heads hit the pillow we are constantly on one device or another, even while sitting on the toilet. Online research found that 46% of Australians are addicted to their phones and is impacting their health.
These days we rely heavily on our phones. They have become our digital wallets, we use them to scan QR codes, to source news and content, to run businesses, to connect with others, and to influence audiences. On average, Australians spend 5.5 hours per day looking at their phones. Gen Z spends the most time on their phones averaging a frightening 7 hours per day. This equates to an unbelievable 17 years of their lives! Consequently, how many hours a day can we spend on a device before we are considered addicted?
Surprisingly, currently, internet addiction is not officially recognised as a disorder, so there is no formal definition of what constitutes an addiction! To help us manage the amount of time we spend on our phones, phone companies now provide screen time controls and features that can monitor and restrict our phone use. These features can be accessed on Apple devices by going into Settings and selecting Screen Time. Your phone usage is broken down by app and compared to the previous weeks’ and months’ usage. You can also set time limits for each app. Android users can access these features by going into Settings and selecting Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.
If you still feel that you are having problems controlling your urge to use your device, you can seek help from your doctor, psychologist, or contact the Australian Psychological Society.