Obsessed with your mobile?

A recent report from the services network Deloitte suggests that if you check your phone a lot during the day then you are not alone. But does it worry you that you may be addicted or at least obsessed at checking for messages?

The survey showed that over three quarters of adults in the UK have a smartphone. That’s a lot of people. But some of the other statistics are even more daunting. Smartphones in this country are checked over a billion times a day. An almost unimaginable statistic - are you one of those who has to check your phone even if it hasn’t beeped? 

Other trends shown in the report show that more than a third of Britons check their phones 25 to 50 times a day - that’s up to over three times an hour. No ringing. No beeping. They just check in case they have missed a call or text message. Why check so frequently? Could this be an indication of an obsession?

And have you thought about where you are when you check your phone? Do you do it on the loo? Have you ever just checked your messages when reading to your children or when driving? Or as you walk along the pavement whilst others swerve to avoid you?

Deloitte’s survey shows that over half of mobile users check their phone within five minutes of waking up. Counselling professionals are now beginning to be concerned about mobile phone addiction. Dr Fran Wolfish, a psychotherapist in California, suggests that mobile phones are addictive in the same way as slot machines are. He believes that the immediacy of response, gratification and excitation are coming to make the user want more and want more now.

So how do you know if you are obsessed with your mobile? If you answer yes to three of the following you just may be:

  • Do you take your phone into the bathroom? 
  • Do you answer your phone when out at a social occasion? 
  • Do you check your phone when you wake up?
  • Do you check your phone in the middle of the night?
  • Do you get anxious when you can’t find your phone?
  • Have your friends complained that you don’t listen?
  • Do you check your phone even if it hasn’t beeped?

If you feel that the use of your phone is compulsive, or even if you are unhappy with how often you look at your phone, then it may be useful to see a counsellor. He or she will help you understand if there’s an underlying issue that encourages to use your phone for self soothing. 

There are things you can try to help you regain control. First leave your phone in another room when you go to sleep. Then try to get ready for work before checking your phone. Getting prepared for the day ahead is important so get ready slowly and spend time on yourself.

Leave your phone at home occasionally when you go out. This may be challenging but it will help you regain control.

Establish a phone free time. Perhaps you could turn your phone off between 8pm and 10pm each evening. Or over your lunchtime.

Turn your phone on to silent for periods of time during the day. For example, when you are concentrating on finishing an important project.

And try not to take calls or messages in the bathroom. If you want a private conversation wouldn't somewhere else be better?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Canary Wharf, E14 4AS
Written by Owen Redahan, MBACP. B.Sc.(Agr)
Canary Wharf, E14 4AS

Owen works with individuals and couples. He focuses mainly on issues around self-esteem, relationships, sexual addiction and work problems using CBT and person focused therapies.

He holds a diploma in Counselling and is Vice Chair of ATSAC (the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity). He is based in Canary Wharf (E14).

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