Do you know someone who’s addicted to their phone? Maybe the one reading this post? The problem with smart phone addiction is that it’s dangerous to both the user and those in close proximity. And not just while driving either. Personal relationships are negatively impacted by constant phone use (addiction). You can tell if you or someone else has a phone addiction if…

– You reach for your phone the moment you’re alone or bored.
– You wake up at night and immediately check your phone.
– You feel anxious, upset, or short-tempered when you can’t get to your phone.
– Your phone use has caused you to have an accident or injury.
– You’re spending more and more time using your phone.
– Phone use interferes with your job performance, schoolwork, or relationships.
– People in your life are concerned about your phone use patterns.
– You often check your phone while on a date or important meeting.
– When you try to limit your use, you relapse quickly.

This assessment is from the article “How to Tell If You Could Be Addicted to Your Phone.”

This is a major problem in both the workplace and at home. The article also refers to a few terms associated with pathological phone use.

nomophobia: the fear of going without your phone
textaphrenia: the fear that you can’t send or receive texts
phantom vibrations: the feeling that your phone is alerting you when it really isn’t

So many people use their phones for social interaction, and they quickly become accustomed to constantly checking them for that hit of dopamine that’s released when they connect with others on social media or some other app. In fact, programmers count on that drive to keep you checking your phone.

This cycle of always checking your phone for FOMO (fear of missing out) or for that dopamine hit can lead to a tipping point: when your phone ceases to be something you enjoy and becomes something you’re compelled to use.

Elaina Giolando, in her Fast Company article “How I’ve Learned To Get Someone To Put Down Their Phone And Listen” lists some practical statements to use when dealing with this excessive behavior. She decided to start confronting this rude behavior head on. The whole article is helpful, but some of my favorite lines are…

“Hey, is now still a good time to talk? I see you’re doing something important on your phone, so maybe you need to do that first.”

“I’m feeling distracted from what we were saying since you’ve been checking your phone. Can we start over?”

“I’m sure you’re really good at multitasking, but I don’t feel heard right now. Can we talk when you’ve finished texting?”

But my favorite technique, which I’ve already used, is to simply be quiet and warmly smile until the offender notices you. This works in many situations with a distracted phone user. Ms. Giolando’s article is a great read (only 4 minutes). I strongly encourage you to check it out if you have a phone addicted person in your life.