What do you mean, ‘screenface’? You know what it means!
It’s when you can’t stop looking at your smartphone, checking your notifications, updates and emails… on the toilet, in the car before you set off, when crossing a road or walking down the street… you know it’s true… or do you? Are you a screenface?!
It’s becoming an epidemic – and there are some pretty ugly negative side effects from this constant screen time presence! Are you ‘at risk’?
Risk identifiers are:
If any of these jump out at you, or if you are worrying now that ALL of them are practically you… then you may have some addiction traits, and genuinely without managing them your body will be releasing huge amounts of stress hormone like cortisol that causes damage.
You’re not on your own however, sadly. Thousands of millennials and older adults are attending physio for neck aches and deformities arising from extensive and continuous smart phone use. Back ache, headaches, rounded shoulders and nerve damage are all signs you’re spending too much time holding up your device or propping up your body to be able to use it. Social anxiety is sky rocketing because we’re growing out of the habit of communicating in person, struggling more and more to voice our secret needs, desires and difficulties.
As a population, certain countries and areas have now brought in selfie free zones due to an increase in deaths, and injuries from smartphone use – such as in India, where deaths from selfies have peaked to dangerous heights from people not realising that they are in danger of being run over or harmed. Recently Niagara falls have had to instruct people to take selfies with caution after a Japanese tourist fell to her death last year trying to take the perfect selfie. In Australia, and states of America, they have introduced fines for smart phone use whilst walking, and in areas of London, lamp posts have been cushioned with padding, after numerous complaints that people had walked into them by accident (whilst on their smart phones) causing injuries. Japan also has started to print up signs at ankle level – telling people when to look up to step off elevators.
It’s not JUST about injuries however. Friendships and intimate relationships are changing, evolving into digital interactions rather than hanging out. Less time is being spent in person. Families are often ‘doing their own thing’ in their own rooms – and parents are now playing catch up to teenagers that are now subject to a rising number of brand new digital crimes – such as offers to pay for streaming live underage camera feeds, online bullying and harassment, not to mention Snapchat pictures of all sorts coming through… even geo-locating crimes are becoming the norm – so targeting you or members of your family based on where they are predictably showing up on a map (or in the case of house burglaries, not showing up) all based on your background activity.
But it doesn’t stop there. Has your partner ever huffed and puffed because you’re looking at your phone more than them?!
Are you smiling to yourself at this point? I know! Scary stuff really; this whole ‘smartphone enslaves us into addiction’ thing. But it really is spreading.
Kids and partners are displaying increased anxiety traits at excessive phone usage that can be measured on brain scans – signs of this physical distress including grabbing the phone, shouting to get your attention and physically getting in the way of your screen. Additionally, children often emulate their parents behaviour, so if you are on your phone even briefly yet continuously throughout the day, your child will learn to prioritise data over people. They are not fully adult, so they learn from our cues what is right and what is wrong.
If these things are happening in your house, it might be time to put down the smartphone, stop being a total screen face and free yourself before it’s too late!
Solutions can be to set the phone aside for set periods – so checking it at specific times, say between 10am and 11am, 12.30-1, and 7.30-8.30pm. Or downloading an app that keeps track of your behaviour on your phone – and then shows you where you spend your main bulk of time. Do prepare though to feel quite embarrassed and shocked at what you spend most of this ‘important’ time on (Instagram, I’m looking at you!) You’ll be saying ‘I’m not addicted – honest!’
Meditation has been linked to better mental health – so if you really can’t live without your phone by your side, consider downloading and using a regular meditation app to slow your brainwaves back down and counteract the risks of stress hormones being released. Try and enjoy ‘phone vacations’ for a few hours if you’re going for a walk locally, or on holiday, turn it off for a while and store it in the safe when you head to the pool or beach. Reading also can slow the mind down. Look after yourself. Addiction and a rise in stress levels when you’re using your phone is subtle. It happens through creep – slow changes in usage over time. It’s not your fault alone either – companies are throwing millions of pounds at addictive features on their sites and apps, to then target you to buy things you don’t really need. It makes a fortune!
There’s only one of you and you might not mean the world to everyone, but to a few you mean the world! Protect yourself from addictive traits and put the phone away. It’s just to help you make calls faster remember.
For this and more, hypnotherapy can be a fast, no-nonsense approach to quick powerful change through a safe and natural process of relaxation. Get in touch to find out more about what Shauna can do for you!