Experts’ Opinion: How Much Time on Your Smartphone is Appropriate

Health, Tech

The time we spend on smartphones is increasing as the devices are becoming more powerful and capable of handling more tasks than ever before.

Two decades ago, you could only make calls, send text messages and perhaps do light internet browsing on your phone.

This means that the time people spent on phones was relatively shorter since they had to put them down to do other things.

Spending too much time on smartphones can impact health negatively. Photo: Courtesy

Today you can do your shopping, read a novel, attend an online class, order lunch, video-chat with friends, read the day’s newspaper, pay bills, watch a movie, hail a cub and even monitor the baby without putting the phone down.

Consequently, we are spending more time than ever before on our smartphones. Perhaps longer than we probably should.

Too much time on your phone is associated with ill effects such as disrupted sleep patterns, myopia, poor social and communication skills.

According to a study conducted by eMarketer, people averagely spend 4 hours, 5 minutes on their mobile phones each day.

While this research from the University of Derby found out that the average user spent 3.6 hours per day on a smartphone.

Naturally, this begs the question how much is too much? And how much time on phone can be considered healthy?

Mental health researcher Tayana Panova opines that it is really hard to come up with a general figure on how much is appropriate. Tayana suggests that each person has to decide how much time is appropriate for themselves.

However, several studies show that you should spend a maximum of 2 cumulative hours in a day. Kids under two years of age should not be interacting with smartphones at all.

Both of the upcoming versions of Android (Android P) and iOS (iOS 12) have features to help users monitor how they spend time on their devices.

Both operating systems also have Do Not Disturb; a feature that allows users to turn off all notifications for specific period of times or locations.

Other than the total time spent on your smartphone, iOS 12’s Screen Time and Android P’s Dashboard will specifically show how much time you spend on each app.

iOS 12’s Screen Time and Android P’s Dashboard will show how much time you spend on your phone

This is a pointer that tech companies are aware of the detrimental effects spending too much on smartphones has on the health of users.

Therefore, it is important to consciously monitor the amount you spend on your smartphone and cut back where necessary. Here are some general tips to help you reduce the time you spend on your phone.

  • Do not use your smartphone as an alarm. Instead, use a dedicated alarm clock.
  • Avoid going into the bedroom with your smartphone. If you must, keep it away from your bedside.
  • Avoid texting during mealtimes
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb (turn off notifications) before you get to bed.
  • Set phone-free periods when you do not check your phone at all.
  • Delete all apps you do not really need.

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