Telegraph – Are you addicted to your mobile phone?

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Telegraph – 13 May 2015 – Are you addicted to your mobile phone?

The very first thing I do when I wake up in the morning – while I am still in bed – is to pick up my phone, press the Twitter app and see what’s going on in the world. It is also the very last thing I do before turning off the light at night.

Yes, I am addicted to my smartphone and its incredible, near-instant stream of news, gossip, analysis and pictures of weasels hitching lifts on the back of woodpeckers. I am, to use an awful neologism, “nomophobic”. That is, I have a fear of having no mobile phone.

Dr Richard Graham, is a consultant adolescent psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital and an expert in technology addiction. He says the problem has become much worse in recent years because of the increasing number of devices that can be used to connect to the internet, from tablet computers to wearable tech, such as a Fitbit wristband which measures your heart-rate. Only a couple of years ago, if you had left your phone at home, you would have been stranded. Less so now. Indeed, despite the explosion in social media and internet use, Ofcom does record a small drop in the take up of smartphones during 2014.

Dr Graham recommends addicts, like me, should consider going cold turkey for at least a few days. “Challenge of yourself to think about a period of at least a weekend, ideally a long weekend, when you are not going to use the device. And get others to join in along with you. It is really important to get in control of the tool, rather than the other way around.”

One of his other pieces of advice, however, is something I am trying to do. “I’m very keen on no screenlight an hour before sleep. Because some of our decision-making and concentration problems may be as much about sleep deficit,” says Dr Graham. This is especially important for children, with developing brains.

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