With just a few taps of your finger (or thumb!), you can access more information than most people throughout history could ever conceive of. Without ever having to leave your couch, you can browse the libraries of thousands of universities, communicate with experts on a million subjects, and check out the latest scientific research. But is your smart phone actually stealing your smarts? More and more people say that this is the case, and when it comes to your relationships and performance, that tiny computer in your pocket may be doing more damage than ever before. Read on to find out how your cell phone steals your brainpower, relationships with others, and more!
Concentration and Memory
Many people in today’s world report difficulty getting through a chapter of a book, or even a whole magazine article. Why? Because we are constantly dividing our concentration. The thought of spending 15 or 20 minutes on just one task is almost unheard of—after all, you could check social media, reply to a quick text, glance at the weather, see if the nannycam for the kids is showing any activity… after all, if your phone can keep all these apps open in the background, can’t your brain? The truth is, you can’t. Even the best multitaskers are pretty bad at multitasking, because the human brain only has a single “processor” built in. You may think you can do it all (at once), but if you notice that it is hard to stay focused, remember the details, or keep a good timeline, it may be because your brain is in the habit of only giving partial attention.
Relationships and Connection
Your smart phone isn’t just sapping your brainpower, it’s affecting your relationships. When you check your phone in the middle of conversation or engagement with others, you are saying “this phone/person/thing is more important to me than our conversation right now.” It sounds ugly, but it is true. Sometimes, it’s okay—if you check your phone a few times to make sure the kids are okay while out with a friend, this is a good thing—your children’s safety is more important than rehashing the latest gossip with your friend. But when it becomes a habit, think of the damage it can do. Your device may be breaking the bond between you and your significant other. Where a high-powered CEO may look more important when he or she takes a call or replies to an email during a meeting, you would be right to start looking for a new therapist in Littleton if this happened during session! If you are checking messages, you are not listening actively , and you may find that friends and family even stop talking with you.
Even the most technology-avoidant therapist in Highlands Ranch isn’t going to tell you to ditch your smart phone. But can you find a balance that works for you and the others who are important for your life? One way is to turn off those push notifications! They aren’t there to help you—they are almost always there to sell you something or remind you to “do” something—usually, buying something. They take away your power of choice and leave you as a passive consumer. Shut them off, or set limits on when you can be interrupted. When you are busy with a task or with family, consider the ultimate: shut the whole phone off! Even if only for an hour or two, notice the change you feel without the constant demands on your energy and attention.
For some people, technology goes behind normal use and escalates into addiction. If you are having problems putting your smart phone away or if you feel like your use is affecting your relationships or functioning, seek effective, evidence-based counseling in Highlands Ranch today!