Smartphone addiction is real, and we all probably need to do something about it.

How to get back screen time

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If you feel like you're being monitored by your smartphone, don't feel alone — Smartphone addiction is a real thing. So let's talk about this and how to deal with it.

We all did it — we've lost entire days to the siren call of social media or mobile games or even just binge-watching our favorite TV shows. While it's not a bad thing if it happens every now and then, there's a good chance it happens more often than you'd like to admit.

And, unfortunately, this is quite normal.

Let's discuss the dangers of too much screen time, what constitutes healthy limits, and how to hold yourself accountable.

What experts say about screen time

As great as they may be, excessive smartphone use is associated with many negative physical and mental health consequences. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the harmful effects that excessive use of digital devices has on the average person, but it consists of the most well-studied phenomena.

Myopia as an epidemic

Associated with excessive use of screen time and the development of myopia &mdash ; or myopia. It turns out that looking at screens for too long can physically change the structure of the eyeball, causing it to lengthen from front to back.

This elongation interferes with the eye's ability to refract light correctly, which is necessary for sharp distance vision.

Some experts believe that by 2050, more than 50% of people will suffer from myopia. This is especially true for children, whose eyes are more likely to become deformed due to frequent screen use.

Experts suggest that those who use digital devices — especially smartphones — learn to hold devices further.

Apple's screen distance warning

Apple also has a setting that helps with this. Any iPhone with Face ID can automatically remind you to keep your phone at least twelve inches away from your face.

To enable this setting, follow the instructions below.

How to turn on distance reminders

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap >Screen time
  3. Tap Screen Distance
  4. Turn on Screen Distance

Now, if you hold your iPhone closer than 12 inches, a full-screen reminder will appear , reminding you to move your phone away from your face. This adjustment can help reduce eye strain and reduce the likelihood of children developing nearsightedness.

Chronic dry eyes

In addition to myopia, excessive screen use is causing a significant increase in the incidence of chronic dry eyes . When we use smartphones and tablets, we blink significantly less, and this is a serious problem.

Some studies, although somewhat limited, have shown a correlation between excessive smartphone use and dry eye syndrome.

It turns out that you only need to blink a little. Blinking acts as a windshield wiper that removes irritants and moisturizes the eyes, and the act of blinking signals your body to produce tears first.

So, if you blink less, you produce fewer tears, which can lead to atrophy of the tear glands and tear ducts, resulting in less eye fluid being produced overall.

Again, the risk is highest in children, but chronic dry eye syndrome is also on the rise in adults.

Using a smartphone is harmful for your mental health health

Smartphones have not been around for very long, but they are already affecting our mental health. Although research is still in its infancy, many studies show that increased smartphone use is strongly correlated with the development of depression, anxiety and even suicidal ideation.

As noted by Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry, a constant stream of notifications and updates can lead to anxiety. This is often called FOMO — or fear of missing out — in younger users. This causes them to believe that they will be excluded from cultural and social moments if they do not behave in the same way as they see on their timeline.

However, it's not just about the fear of missing out. There is also a growing sense of isolation and inadequacy. It's easy to feel inadequate when you're shown manicured Instagram feeds of beautiful vacations, well-groomed outfits, and smiling faces.

However, it is important to understand that you are being shown something that is visually appealing and not realistic.

Smartphone addiction

Smartphones themselves are not necessarily bad. They help us stay connected with loved ones, allow us to capture special moments with a handy camera, and keep us safe in dangerous situations.

However, the platforms that arose because of them are a completely different story.

Social media is designed to be addictive because it constantly learns what you're most likely to look at and then shows you more of it. This is why your channel will be different from everyone else you know. This is mainly done so that you can scroll the page and see as many ads as possible.

Mobile games are another place where addiction is very relevant. Blind or gacha style games entice users to spend money for the chance to get rare in-game items and characters, just like a scratch ticket promises a cheap windfall.

Although many mobile games are free, they offer incentives for players to make in-app purchases.

As with scratch tickets, these are easy for gamers to spend a lot of money without realizing it, as it is often rationalized as a relatively inexpensive purchase that the user can make multiple times.

Again, it is most dangerous for people under 25 years of age. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for impulse control, is not fully developed in this age group.

It is also especially dangerous for people who have problems with impulse control of any kind. This includes people with substance abuse disorders, mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depressive disorder, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism.

Limiting your screen time use

So, you can be wondering what the next step is. It's important to note that we're not suggesting you go completely unplugged and drop your iPhone, iPad, or computer into the nearest large body of water. We're not even suggesting that you delete your X and Instagram accounts.

However, as they say: everything in moderation. Learning to switch off from screens whenever possible will have many benefits for your physical and mental health. Of course, it will most likely be difficult at first, but it won't always be that way.

Our first suggestion is to become aware of your current screen time habits. Apple automatically tracks screen time on your iPhone and iPad. Knowing how often you use your devices can help you know where to go.

To check screen time on iPhone and iPad, open the Settings app, then tap Screen Time.

Apple lets you view detailed statistics about iPhone screen time and app usage

There you will see a summary of how often you use your devices and you It may surprise you how often you use them.

Experts advise that you get two hours of “personal” screen time a day, and that doesn't just stop on your phone. This is on all screens — games, phones, web browsing and television.

If your numbers are particularly high, we suggest starting with a small reduction. Going cold turkey is one of the worst ways to break a habit or addiction.

For example, if you have eight hours of personal screen time a day, find out where to set some limits. We suggest limiting time on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and X.

How to set screen time limits for each app on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open the Settings
  2. app

  3. Tap Screen Time
  4. Tap App Restrictions
  5. Click Add limit
  6. Click on the category of the app you want to limit
  7. Click on the app you want to limit
  8. Install period that you consider reasonable — We offer a 10-15% reduction initially.
  9. Click Add

You can also set a specific time when all applications except the ones you specify are blocked. This is called “down time”.

Activating downtime

How to set downtime for iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Tap Idle Time
  4. Tap Enable downtime
  5. Set your desired downtime

By default, the Phone app, Messages, and Apple Maps are the only apps included in downtime. However, in the Screen Time menu, you can select apps from the Always Allowed list to keep on during downtime.

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