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Home / Brunch / Techilicious with Rajiv Makhni: How to have a healthier relationship with your mobile phone this year

Techilicious with Rajiv Makhni: How to have a healthier relationship with your mobile phone this year

Put aside this communication device and have real, actual face time with human beings

brunch Updated: Jan 04, 2020, 22:33 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Allocate a total screen time for everyone in the family per day — two hours is the golden rule!
Allocate a total screen time for everyone in the family per day — two hours is the golden rule!(Getty Images)

In 2017, I wrote a column called Phone Slaves. I based it on research done at that time on what phone addiction was doing to us. I asked the question, ‘Do you own your phone or does your phone own you?’ I quoted statistics from the study, including how 58 per cent of us use our phones while using the toilet (!), and 81 per cent check our phones during a wedding ceremony, while making out (!) and at a funeral! I gave solid tips on how to restrict this and wrestle some phone-life balance in your life. I thought there was enough shocking evidence in all of that to make a difference. I was wrong!

The New Study

Recently, an even bigger and more extensive study was done by smartphone maker Vivo and CMR that threw up even more frightening statistics. I posted some of those numbers on social media.

Don’t charge your phone in your room. When you don’t see it, your need to check it reduces dramatically

I’m going to turn that study into a quiz that you must take honestly. I’m also going to give you the stats from the Vivo/CMR study. Tell me where you stand (see below).

Hindustantimes

The hand-on-my heart quiz

1. How many hours a day do you think you use your phone? (An average Indian spends over 1,800 hours a year on their smartphone. Five hours a day!)

2. Can you spend five minutes having a conversation with friends/family without checking your phone? (A third of the respondents felt they cannot.)

3. How many minutes from the time you wake up to the time you grab your phone? (More than 50 per cent couldn’t resist checking their phone within five to 15 minutes)

4. What do you do most on your phone? (Messaging and social media. WhatsApp closely followed by Facebook and Instagram.)

5. What’s your main trigger to keep checking messages/social media? (Seventy-six per cent check photos and videos/check how many likes and comments their posts got.)

6. Do you...

 Feel compelled to constantly check your smartphone? (About 42 per cent do.)

 Feel isolated if your phone isn’t with you? (About 39 per cent do.)

 Feel nervous if you run out of battery or leave your phone at home? (About 34 per cent do.)

7. Can you...

 Survive without your phone for more than four hours? (Sixty per cent said they couldn’t.)

 Switch off the phone for over 24 hours (Never, said 96 per cent.)

 Switch off from social media (Impossible, said 66 per cent, due to not getting updates or fear of missing out,)

How did you fare? Most people I ran this quiz by did much worse than even the study. The smartphone is the greatest communication tool of all time. Let’s make sure we use it and not get used by it.

Here are things you can do right away to have a massive impact.

 Don’t do a digital detox and abandon your phone completely. That makes it much worse since you’ll obsess and fret.

 Use a phone usage monitoring app that tells you the total time you used your phone, number of times it was unlocked and minutes spent on each app with a real time ticking clock.

 Don’t charge your phone in your room. When you don’t see it, your need to check it reduces dramatically.

 Ban phones any time the family or more than two people are together. Ban it from meals, the dining table and any family time.

 Put all your social media apps, messaging app or any app that has a counter on it in a folder on the last screen. That short circuits your need for constant checking.

 Allocate a total screen time for everyone in the family per day (two hours is the golden rule). Stick to it yourself to set an example.

 Check yourself before you check your phone. As you reach for your phone, ask yourself: am I expecting something earth- shatteringly urgent? The answer is usually no. Put the phone back.

Sounds tough. But it isn’t. You’ll be shocked by what you get in return. Actual, real, meaningful time spent with real human beings.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

Techilicious appears every fortnight

From HT Brunch, January 5, 2020

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