Turn off your smart phone and improve your mood

By 96five Wednesday 27 Feb 2019

By: Warren Nunn

Turn off your smart phone right now and don’t touch it for 24 hours.


Can you do that? For many this may prove difficult for various reasons, but how about trying it for just a few hours?
Five hours to be precise.

That was the challenge of MoodOff Day, on the 24th of February, an Australian initiative launched in 2011 to create awareness of the impact of smart phone addiction.

Smart phone addiction is a world-wide phenomenon partly because of the number of devices in use and how we use them to stay in touch.

18 million Aussies have smart phones

About 18 million Australians own smart phones, according to statista.com. That’s amazing considering Australia only has a population of 25 million.

Those behind MoodOff Day point out that smart phones are literally speaking to us, guiding us, influencing our decision-making and even managing our lives.

However, research now shows that too much time using a smart phone does affect children, as well as personal family relationships and our social interaction with friends.

It has also been responsible for the deaths of both drivers and pedestrians.

Because of the impact on young minds, governments have started to limit smart phone use in schools.

Signs of Smart Phone addiction

Academics now write scientific papers about smart phone use. Some of their conclusions about those who ‘overuse’ their phones include:

  • Feeling a constant need to use, check your phone
  • Feelings of irritability, restlessness, anxiousness if not able to use your smart phone device or it being out of battery
  • Excessive usage of your phone to the point where the user loses the sense of time
  • The user turns to the smart phone to avoid anxiety, sadness or even depression

In one of the many studies, San Diego State University professor of psychology Dr Jean Twenge and colleagues made the connection between unhappy teenagers and phone use.

The research concluded that teenagers who were involved in sporting activities and having face-to-face social interaction were far more content that their contemporaries who preferred their smart phones or other devices.

Moves to limit smart phones at school

Because of the impact on young minds, governments have started to limit smart phone use in schools.

From the start of 2018, the French Government banned phones in all primary and secondary schools.

In Australia, the New South Wales government is also moving towards a similar ban. And in Queensland, the Pimpama State Secondary College on the Gold Coast has also taken a hard line against phone use on school grounds in a bid to address cyberbullying.

Many other schools make students turn off their phones during the day and report less bullying and more social interaction.

Many schools are now looking at removing the devices.

Drivers and smart phone danger

Another area in which smart phones have become a far different concern is when car drivers use them and cause accidents.

Motoring groups such as RACQ have joined campaigns warning of the dangers of using a phone while driving. They say it makes a driver four times more likely to crash and is as risky as drink driving.

MoodOff Day says some researchers also suggest that having a smart phone addiction can be compared to having a gambling addiction.

Although Monday 24 February is MoodOff Day this year, you could choose any day, or indeed every day, to switch off your phone for at least five hours.

Learn more about MoodOff Day at moodoffday.com.

What does too much smart phone use mean to you?

So, do you feel the need to regularly check your phone?

Do you consider it to be the problem that researchers are suggesting it is?

If you think it is a problem, what advice would you have for those struggling with the addiction?

We’d love to hear your suggestions.


About the author: Warren Nunn has been a journalist for more than 40 years. For 27 years until 2013, he worked at Queensland’s largest daily newspaper The Courier-Mail.

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