Digital Detox. Create a healthier relationship with your phone

Feel like you’re spending way too much time with your digital devices — especially your phone? You’re not the only one. Time to do something about it.

It’s official — phone separation anxiety is a real thing. So real in fact, there’s even a name for it: nomophobia.

Research shows that most Australians who use a mobile phone have some fear of being without it, but that fear rises the more hours a day people typically use their phones. And with nearly one in two of the study’s participants spending more than three hours a day on their phone, researchers say that not only are nomophobia levels quite high in Australia, the risk of dangerous use increases. This includes things like using your phone when you’re driving, and problematic use — which can lead to things like spending too much time being sedentary and even the deterioration of personal relationships.

Keen to kick the habit? You’re in good company. 60 per cent of Australians are trying to limit how much time they spend looking at their phones. Here’s a simple, fail-safe way to turn trying into doing.

Make your bedroom a phone-free zone

You may need to invest in an old-school-style alarm clock, but trust us, it’s worth it. Results from a 2019 survey show that Australians who agree they spend too much time on their phones are four times more likely not to go to sleep when they intended to, while one in five of us is either woken by text messages or social media alerts, or wakes up to send them during the night. The fix is simple: keep your phone in another room overnight.

Find boredom-busting replacements

Research confirms what you probably already know: smartphone use increases when we’re bored. Surprisingly though, research also shows that when it comes to fighting boredom, interacting with your phone doesn’t actually score that well. Brainstorm a few other solutions, whether it’s reading a book, taking the dog for a walk or doing a quick meditation, so you have them on hand whenever you need them.

Don’t have texting conversations with friends

Quick texts are fine, but stop having full-blown conversations with friends that way. Research proves that face-to-face catchups, or at least audio-based ones, are much better for bonding with loved ones. When you consider that around 85 million texts are sent every day in Australia, not having to play an ongoing game of text ping pong could seriously minimise how much time you need to spend looking at and responding to things on your phone.

Put your phone on silent

Do this as often as you can — and for as long as you can each time. Better yet, flick it onto aeroplane mode every now and then. When you can’t hear your phone’s notifications you’ll be less inclined to reach for it. Also, research proves that the audible ‘ding’ of an incoming text or notification, even when you’re determined not to or physically can’t check it, causes the same amount of mental distraction and interruption as actually interacting with your phone.

And switch your notifications off

Sure, you’ll need to keep some of them on, but do you really need to know the minute someone you’re following on social media posts something new? On top of switching your phone onto silent for long stretches, being able to pick and choose what you interact with instead of being prompted to by push notifications will also help you cut down on your useage. 

Insuring your devices

Your Home & Contents Insurance can cover damage to the stuff inside your house — but it won’t necessarily cover the portable devices you take with you out and about, like your smartphone or tablet.

However, with GIO, you can add Portable Valuables cover to your Contents Insurance or Home & Contents Insurance policy. It covers loss of, or damage to, a range of portable items, anywhere in Australia and New Zealand.

Portable Valuables cover is optional with Classic policies, and included with Classic Extras policies.

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. 
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.