What are some symptomatic behaviors?
Signs there may be a problem
1.) When the majority of your fights are about the phone. When you hardly even notice how often your child has their face in their phone. When you lie to yourself and others about the rules you don't really enforce. You may also be in denial.
2.) When you have to consciously say to your family "Let's put our phones away" while watching TV because it's more common that they're out than away. When you are secretly happy but feel guilty when your family is on their phones so you can enjoy the quiet time-on your phone.
3.) When your child is immediately on the phone as soon as school ends, get home, get in the car, leaves class, sits down. When your child has their phone in their hand at every moment in life, including beach days, parties, social time, with friends, every meal, and outside free play. When you shrug it off and think "oh these kids love their devices" and keep scrolling. When you sit down and first thing you do is grab the phone. When you are always on it while you are waiting for anything.
4.) When you've lost the ability to retain information that is not received on your phone. When your phone verifies everything in your life and provides answers for any question you have. What would you do if google or whoever lost (or sold) all your contacts, emails, and pictures?
5.) When you hope you hit a bunch of red lights on the way home so you can comment on a post or check an email. When you and your child are always on the phone together at restaurants, cars, and home . When the car stops and you are both on your phone. When you use your phone in the car PERIOD. When you are drive while looking at your phone you are addicted-no matter what it is-nothing on your phone is more important. When its ALWAYS next to your body, brain, heart and organs.
6.) When your child keeps on pulling it out of her pocket subconsciously to see if she received a text even though she is with friends and family. This could be a desire for a dopamine surge causing a compulsion loop. When you don't really know what they are doing on their phone and have checked out from real life. When a sibling is also being negatively affected by the fights or by the loss of a playmate. When you or your child seems consistently more interested in who they are texting or their phone than their family members or friends. When they constantly get distracted in mid conversation to check their phone. When they are with a friend but more interested in being on their phone waiting for that dopamine hit.
7.) When it is acceptable in your family to be eating together while everyone is on their phone. When everyone looks forward to throwing themselves on the couch with their phone. When your family time involves scrolling, eating, and mumbling a few sentences in between. When you have no rules for yourself or in your family about the phones.
8.) When you are bored, you pick up the phone. When your're tired, you pick up the phone. When you're lazy, you pick up their phone. When you're angry, you pick up the phone. When you're anxious, you pick up the phone. When you are happy, you pick up the phone. When you remember something, you pick up your phone. When you want any information you pick up the phone. When you want to escape you get your phone. When you want out of an awkward interaction, there is your phone ready to save you. When you need to know what you're next move is-your phone will tell you. When you need the time, the weather, all your friends, food, directions, a distraction- there it is. When you need to check the bank, the kids, the bills, the teacher, the school, work, everything in your hand all the time giving you intermittent rewards ding ding ding-modifying and controlling your behavior.
9.) When you choose your clothing based on the best pockets to hold your phone. When you just have it in your hand or in your pocket all the time. You have it in your hand whenever you are in public. Your hands, wrist, neck and shoulders ache from overuse.
10.) When you are staring at photos you took on your phone while the actual moment is taking place right in front of you. When you fear that you won't capture a moment with your phone so you always need it. When you are just bored without your phone. When you go for a family walk or hike and you need it -just in case....When you are socializing and you just need to check your phone-so you aren't missing out on anything.
11.) When you find yourself or your child overly concerned or comparing themselves to others based on what they post. When your child consistently makes remarks about how other people have it so much better and easier than they do. When your child seems depressed most of the time because they feel like they are less than others. When the majority of the time your child seems unhappy, angry, withdrawn, and lonely. When your child has difficulties with making eye-contact. Some of these signs are very serious and cause suicidal thoughts. When you or your child feel left out because you weren't invited to a certain gathering where everyone seems to be having so much fun. There is a serious psychological component to FOMO which is very harmful.
12.) When you or your child can't help being on it even when you know you shouldn’t be. When you just grab it all the time and play with it and swing in your hand clutching tightly. If you feel anxious, irritable, or uncomfortable when your phone isn’t within reach. When you and your child are using your phone to avoid boredom or because their is a lull in the conversation or you are avoiding an awkward interaction. When you and your child look at nothing in particular just to click away and get a dopamine hit, waste time, and alleviate boredom or send cute emoji's or making silly faces together with your new apps, taking lots fun selfies.