Producer: Esther Bintliff. Camera: Liam McCarthy. Editor: Oli McGuirk
It's midnight. I've got to be up in six hours, and for some reason I can't stop scrolling through Twitter on my phone. Sound familiar? Six in ten adults told Ofcom they felt hooked on their smartphones, tablets, or other devices. The downside-- you can end up feeling tethered to your device, checking your messages multiple times a day, and interrupting quality time with your friends or family to reply to a WhatsApp message or check the latest Trump news. Like any addiction, it can hurt your health and productivity, so how do you reduce your dependence on your smartphone?
You could try banning phones for meal times. One technique might be to get a container out at meal times and make everybody put their phones in it. Some people may sneak a glance during the meal. Then they have to do some kind of forfeit.
Ban phones from the bedroom. This one is really important. Charge your phone in the hallway or another room. This will help you switch off at bedtime, but may also improve the quality of sleep, as phone screens emit blue light. I, like lots of people, use the phone as an alarm clock. And so, a simple solution to that is to get an alarm clock.
Turn off notifications, but you knew that. You can also download apps to help you switch off, like shutter, or an internet blocker that will help you keep away from the most addictive sites. If you find that you've got no self-control whatsoever, you could get another one, a dumb phone possibly, much like this Nokia. Basically, all they do is allow you to send texts and make phone calls.
So if you give up your phone, you've got all this free time and also concentration back. You can do things, obvious things that you used to enjoy, like cook, or garden, or calling a friend for a chat. And just climbing out the internet hole that you find yourself sucked into.