We access the smartphone around 1500 times a week. So often? Perhaps! Researchers find it difficult to prove it. It may be enough if we keep our eyes on the analog mirror from time to time. May I help you.

How often do we wait on the platform, look around, see our fellow travelers staring at their mobile phones in the most orthopedic position? A mobile phone next to the other.


“Can not they just let their thoughts wander, a little dream,” we think. Obviously not.

Not a minute later, we catch ourselves fishing for the phone in our pocket. Just check the train again. Naturally. And maybe the weather. A few messages. So completely different. 

In the end we do not have to wonder how we access the smartphone 1500 times within one week. That translates to  214 times a day , nine times an hour. You could figure that out for yourself, but who wants to see the bare numbers in mind? Often our cell phone does it all by itself, for example with a weekly report on our user behavior – which, luckily, can be quickly wiped out of the screen unseen.

You should not do this with this post, because we have some useful tips ready.

Our smartphone: a love-hate relationship

According to the Statista survey, we know our digital quirks very well: Most respondents stress that they get their hands on their smartphones before getting up, spend more time in the evening than planned, and generally spend too much time on their cell phones. But with so much self-insight: why is it so hard to control these tiresome habits?

Quite simply because the digital world fascinates.

“It’s not that the digital world is bad, it’s almost that it’s too good,” Tanya Goodin writes in ” Off Your Digital Detox for a Better Life “. The book itself is left aside, Goodin hits the nail on the head with this sentence.

The digital fireworks

After all, the digital amenities outweigh the disadvantages, or not? Although digitization is often described as an apocalypse, most would not want to miss this era. Do not worry, you do not have to. 

Never before has global communication been as simple and fast as it is today. Never have we come to information so easily and quickly. We have never been overwhelmed with so much news and knowledge as today. It’s like digital fireworks. 

Alexander Markowetz is a writer and computer scientist at the University of Bonn. He evaluated the mobile phone usage of 60,000 people using an App within the Menthal Project. He describes the result as “frightening” in ” Digital Burnout “. The analysis shows that our mobile phone usage has reached an abnormal level, that we are gradually becoming “homo digitalis”.

The light of a ground light glows in red

A ground light, especially comfortable for Homo Digitalis

Markowetz expects us to sleep eight hours and stay awake for 16 hours, so we stop every 18 minutes to work on the smartphone. And if it’s just a tap for a look at the clock. Some call it “multitasking” (more about it), for Markowetz it is “distraction”.

The thing with the addiction

From when exactly our digital usage behavior assumes morbid or addictive traits is difficult to determine.

The report of the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment of the Federal Government also states that the topic can not be clearly delimited, since on the one hand the media themselves and on the other hand the usage pattern of the people is constantly changing. Moreover, there is no consensus about what is understood as “normal media usage behavior” – and what is not. As well as, our grandparents we can not ask here for once. A universal definition of media addiction does not (yet) exist. 

The media scientist Jörg Müller-Lietzkow , for example , says that he thinks  it most sensible to attach dependence to the effect and not to the consumption time. If, for example, basic needs – such as eating, drinking, sleeping – are neglected, he considers the situation to be critical.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines dependency in  general as a strong desire and a loss of control over consumption and its steady increase.

However, WHO always presupposes dependence on a specific substance – drugs, alcohol or tobacco. So far in 2018 only the “gaming disorder”, ie the dependence on computer games, was recognized as an independent and substance-independent diagnosis.View image on Twitter

Most of us are not “heavy users”, so we are really addicted. These are only isolated cases. We are in the midfield with our mobile phones at the train station. But this group considers author Markowetz the most endangered. Because the majority of the population has become accustomed to a harmful lifestyle, he writes. And hereby he does not mean the unhealthy posture.

Difficult study situation

To what extent everyday digital consumption affects our lives precisely and above all in the long term is still a mystery to researchers. Maybe even an insoluble one. 

Because measured by scientific standards, smartphones exist only for a relatively short time. For a long-term study, it would have been necessary to start with the device introduction directly with appropriate examinations. The study conditions should have remained constant and technological progress had to be stopped.

As is common in scientific studies, it requires a control group that in this case does not come into contact with digital media for a correspondingly long period of time.

They realize that things are getting complicated …. 

The situation is different with the immediate consequences. These can certainly be measured, as the study ” The Extendend iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion and Physiology” shows.

Researchers had presented subjects with a task. While they were working on it, her smartphone, which was not within reach, unexpectedly rang. The result: heart rate and blood pressure increased, subjects reported malaise or a feeling of anxiety. The cognitive performance decreased. 

And now imagine: Your cell phone rings, but they can not answer at the moment. You know this strange-nervous feeling that spreads, right? We all probably would have cut off in this study as well.

Woman works on laptop with smartphone in hand

You think you can mutitasque? We have to disappoint you.

Myth Multitasking: We do more, we create less

Our smartphone is a diversionary turbo. But we think we’re getting more productive, even masters of multitasking: we eventually write countless messages, search the web, or check the weather in the app instead of looking out the window, and so on. 

Not correct.

“If you do a lot of multitasking every day, you will not get better at multitasking, but you will train for an attention deficit in the long term,” writes neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer in ” Cyberkrank “. 

An analogous example shows that multitasking is a myth: When we read a book and someone asks us a question, we do not hear the one or the other. The human brain is to blame, British researchers have shown because multitasking is just not for us. “Deafness due to inattention” is the name of the phenomenon among psychologists and neuro-researchers. When our brain is busy, it does not process sensory stimuli so well.

If you think that you are quite capable of following a conversation while washing dishes, that may be the case. We do routine activities on the side. But if you’re talking on the phone and taking notes at the same time, strictly speaking, you do not do both at the same time, but switch between the two at lightning speed – and divide their attention. This video can not be played.(Error Code: 224003)

Researchers at Stanford University have competed in a study ” heavy media mutitaskers ” (HMMs) and ” light media mutitaskers ” (LMMs). Those who were accustomed to performing many activities simultaneously – the HHMs – performed worse than the subjects who were less adept at multitasking.

The reason given by the authors is that it was easier for the LMMs to hide irrelevant information, which the HMMs did less well. 

In summary: We train ourselves unnoticed by an attention disorder by multitasking. Can not prioritize and focus on one thing. We are overstimulated. Right?

Back to the flow!

Theoretically, we know very well about our bad digital habits. What we need: the necessary determination. So: back to the flow!

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is considered the inventor of the eponymous theory . It describes the optimal state of creation for which a person is capable. However, this state of affairs is no coincidence: it takes 15 minutes of full concentration to get our brains into high-power mode. The flow. 

Every interruption, even the shortest look at the smartphone destroys this flow again. That means: everything starts from the beginning. The whole 15 minutes.

If you want to concentrate on something, think twice about whether you can resist the temptation. Or if you prefer to banish your smartphone from your area for a short while.

Oh, even the power off or the flight mode are possibilities, if a spatial separation is not an option.IT RINGS, SO I AMMobile evolutionIn 1983 it radioed for the first time mass suitable. The mother of all mobile phones costs nearly $ 4,000 at launch. However, there is a lack of interlocutors, because hardly anyone can afford the expensive “bone”. Incidentally, Martin Lawrence Cooper was inspired by the “Star Trek” films. Only since 1996, the mobile phone is increasingly prevailing – and is getting smaller.

Several phones from big to small next to each other Photographer: Kyle Bean
Mobile evolution

In 1983 it radioed for the first time mass suitable. The mother of all mobile phones costs nearly $ 4,000 at launch. However, there is a lack of interlocutors, because hardly anyone can afford the expensive “bone”. Incidentally, Martin Lawrence Cooper was inspired by the “Star Trek” films. Only since 1996, the mobile phone is increasingly prevailing – and is getting smaller.

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