Is it time to ditch our phones?

By Amelia Riley

We now live in a world where we are all glued to our smartphones, on an endless loop of scrolling, but Dulcie Cowling has decided to ditch hers.

Dulcie, 36-years-old, made the decision at the end of last year to get rid of her phone in a bid to improve her mental health. After the decision had built up during covid lockdowns, she switched to an old Nokia phone that will only make and receive calls and text messages.

“I was on my mobile at a playground with the kids and I looked up and every single parent – there was up to 20 – were looking at their phones, just scrolling away,” she recalls the moment of her decision.

“I thought ‘when did this happen?’. Everyone is missing out on real life. I don’t think you get to your deathbed and think you should have spent more time on Twitter, or reading articles online.

“I thought about how much of my life is spent looking at the phone and what else could I do. Being constantly connected to lots of services creates a lot of distractions, and is a lot for the brain to process.”

Approximately nine in ten people now own a smartphone in the UK, which is broadly replicated worldwide. A recent study found that the average person spends 4.8 hours a day on their phone.

Another study found that sleep deficit, anxiety, stress, and depression are all effects of internet abuse and smartphone usage. Researchers found that there is an intensive increase of smartphone usage among teenages, resulting in symptoms of depression and poor academic performance.

Research says: “when smartphone use becomes an addiction, the behavior becomes stressful”.

I can certainly vouch for Dulcie’s decision, as I am sure many others like me can, who are on the verge of ditching their phones.

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