Tips to control cell phone use
Follow these tips to use your cell phone consciously and set a good example for your children regarding the use of technology.
Adults understand (at least to some extent) how advertising and commercials work. Those juicy cheeseburgers or shiny new cars look pretty hot, but we know they use tricks to tempt us, from upbeat music to hot young models. Now, how many of us have picked up our cell phones to “quickly” check something, only to realize an hour later that we’re still glued to the screen?
In the case of mobile and social media, we may not know, for example, that engineers and designers use the color red in notifications to trigger an emotional response that makes us want to click or slide our fingers across the screen. Or that autoplay features are designed to numb our better judgment. In addition, more and more of us feel addicted to technology. As some in the tech industry begin to weigh in, including Tristan Harris, founder of the Center for Humane Technology and Common Sense Senior Fellow, we’re beginning to understand why It’s so hard to turn off our cell phones.
According to Harris, they are being designed for that purpose . And if we feel tied to our cell phones, imagine how our children feel. So if we want to try to set good examples of digital media use and make sure our families use technology in healthy ways, we need to fight these tricks. We need to show our children how to get all the benefits of these powerful devices that we have in our pockets without forgetting that the priority should always be people.
Here are some simple tips – recommended by Harris – to avoid falling for the tricks cell phone designers use to keep us hooked:
Some simple tips to avoid cell phone use
1. Turn off all notifications except those sent to you by other people.
Notifications can be useful when they let you know that something important needs your attention, like a text message from your child or a WhatsApp message from your sister. But most notifications are sent by machines, not people. And they’re designed to entice you to interact with an app that isn’t currently your priority. Go to your cell phone’s settings to disable all except messaging apps or other essential tools.
2. Activate gray scale.
All those colorful apps? They are designed to make you feel good about wearing them. If you want to spend less time checking your cell phone, removing colors can be helpful. Although it won’t be easy, we’re pretty hooked on all those bright colors. Most cell phones allow you to select “dull” or less bright colors, check in your cell phone settings if this is possible.
3. Limit what’s on your home screen.
Keep only your email, maps, calendar, and anything else you use on a daily basis front and center on the screen. Put all your other apps, from games to recipes, into folders or move them to the second or third screen. If you don’t see them right away, you’ll be less likely to use them.
4. Find apps by typing their name instead of clicking the icon.
Taking the time to type in the name of the app gives your brain a second to consider if you really need to play another game of Candy Crush .
5. If you have a computer or tablet at home, remove social media from your cell phone.
You’ll likely be more mindful about when and where you dive into Facebook and Instagram if you’re only doing it on a computer or tablet. If you’re a regular user of social media, you might be surprised how much time you actually spend on these apps. And when you feel the urge to add them back to your cell phone, consider where that urge comes from.
6. Charge your cell phone away from your bed.
It’s so easy to turn around, hit the pause button on your cell phone’s wake-up alarm, and jump right into checking out the latest news or what your friends have shared on social media. But is it really the habit you want to create? And when it comes to kids, having a cell phone next to their bed is known to cause trouble sleeping. If you can, invest in a traditional alarm clock and keep cell phones away from sleepers all night.
7. Fight apps with other apps.
It’s ironic, but some apps and downloadable extensions remove some of the triggers built in by designers and engineers, and help you be more aware of what you’re doing. Harris recommends Apple’s Night Shift setting which reduces the cell phone’s stimulating blue light, as well as apps like Moment , Freedom , and InboxWhenReady . Plus, there are other apps to help kids stay focused while using devices, and other great tools that can help kids and adults reduce digital distraction.