The Smart Phone Compulsion Test

Our ability to access any information on our phones, at any time, in any place has wonderful advantages and can make life easier.

BUT it also has loads of disadvantages including sucking minutes, hours and even days from our lives.

This ‘test’ may be a wake up call, which may inspire you to act further. Following the test I make some recommendations that have reduced my own phone use.

For a real in-depth look at this problem and some solutions I recommend the book ‘ How to Break up with Your Phone’ by Catherine Price.

The Smartphone Compulsion Test developed by Dr. David Greenfield.

Circle the questions that apply to you

  1. Do you find yourself spending more time on your phone that you realise?
  2. Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis on your phone?
  3. Do you seem to lose track of time when on your phone?
  4. Do you find yourself spending more time texting, tweeting or emailing as opposed to talking to people in person?
  5. Has the amount of time spent on your phone been increasing?
  6. Do you wish you could be a little less involved with your phone?
  7. Do you sleep with your phone next to you turned on regularly?
  8. Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets and emails at all hours of the day and night- even if it means interrupting other things you are doing?
  9. Do you text, email, tweet, Facebook message or surf while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration?
  10. Do you feel your use of your phone decreases your productivity at times?
  11. Do you feel reluctant to be without your phone, even for a      short time?
  12. Do you feel ill at ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your phone in the car or at home, have no service, or have a broken phone?
  13. When you eat meals, is your phone always part of the table place settings?
  14. When your phone rings, beeps or buzzes do you feel an intense urge to check it?
  15. Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your mobile or smartphone many times a day, even when you know it is unlikely there is anything new or important to see?

Here’s how Greenfield interprets people’s scores:

1-2: Your behaviour is normal but it doesn’t mean you should live on your phone

3-4: Your behaviour is leaning towards problematic or compulsive use.

5 or above: It is likely that you may have a problematic or compulsive smartphone use.

Greenfield points out that the only way you are likely to score less than 5 is to not have a smartphone!

How do you feel after doing the test above?

There is some fascinating information in the book recommended above about how smartphones and their apps are designed to be purposely addictive.

Here are some of my suggestions for reducing use:

  • Charge your phone overnight in another room
  • Use a watch that alerts you if there is a call or text so you don’t need to keep checking if you have missed anything and then keep your phone on silent
  • Move all non essential apps off your home page onto the second or third page
  • Turn off all notifications so there are no flashes across the screen or red bubbles on the app picture
  • Put rarely used apps into a folder and if they are still there unused in 3 months delete them all.
  • Delete any social media apps that you know deep down are problematic for you. Use your computer to visit these sites intentionally and decide how much time you are going to spend on the site. If using your computer isn’t an option then reinstall the app for a short dedicated amount of time then delete again. Despite any warnings of deleting data (ignore) this process is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes. You will probably feel the benefits of doing this the first time that you do it and suddenly discover you have much more time so just try it, even just for a day.
  • Set up secondary email accounts for receipts, online shopping etc. and don’t have these on your phone.
  • Have a curfew where you leave your phone somewhere or plug it in to charge and spend at least 1 hour before bed without it.
  • Have a morning rule where you don’t touch your phone before a certain time or before you have done certain activities.
  • Start old-fashioned landline phone calls again.
  • Have a pile of books/magazines/devotionals/Bible near where you would normally sit browsing on your phone. Grab these instead in spare minutes.
  • If you’re watching TV leave your phone in another room and in the adverts either rest and watch or do a quick 2 minutes of something productive (exercise/tidy-up/brush teeth/put bins out etc.) rather than grab your phone.
  • Ensure that you have any key phone numbers written down. Then if you do lose your phone or leave it at work you can just let important people know that they can reach you on the landline and then you can forget about it.

We tackle unhelfpul behaviours and habits, including problematic smartphone use, in our Healthy Whole and Free Course, which starts again on Monday 26th September. You can find out more and sign up to join the course here.


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