Ever heard of the saying, "Too much of a good thing can be bad for you?"
The same can be applied with our increasing dependance on smartphones. Sure they're great for all sorts of things, but for some folks, losing their phone is akin to scooping out half their
Don't believe us? Before you start blowing your top, here's a list of all the ways your smartphone dependance might slowly be dumb-ing you down. And if you don't want to end up with no sense of direction, poor social
skills, and next to no privacy, keep scrolling:
Forgetting Important Numbers and Directions
Can you recall at least five numbers from your phonebook? Chances are you can't because your phone stores all the numbers for you. Now picture that scenario during an emergency when your battery is flat. And when was the last time you found a place on your own without relying on GPS?
While you can't be expected to recall everything, but there are benefits of storing certain information directly in your grey matter. The smartphone is meant to be more of a supplement, and not a replacement for the tasks you should already be able to complete on your own.
Fix it: Take this as an opportunity to reprogram your memory. Start taking the time to actually remember the information you obtain from your smartphone. When using GPS for driving directions, look through the map a few times and try to remember as you make your trip. Use it only as a reference during a stoplight or if you forget a turn.
As for to-do lists and phone numbers, try writing them down somewhere instead of just storing them in your phone. Or repeat the number a couple times in your head while dialing up someone to jolt your memory. Not only will it improve your ability to learn, you'll get more out of the process.
Responding to Every Little Phone Notification
you've ever checked your phone because you thought it vibrated but it
turned out nothing happened at all, then you've probably just enabled too many
notifications. It's gotten so bad for some folks that
they actually feel their phone vibrating when it's really not. Simply put, the phone's notification system is like a dog trainer and you, unfortunately, are the dog. Fix It: The goal here is to minimize your daily distractions and prevent yourself from checking your phone every second of the day. If you need notifications for work purposes, tweak each of the app settings so that it'll only vibrate for stuff you consider important. Anything that's not urgent (Tweets, Facebook updates, etc.) can always be looked at later by turning vibration off. The best way is just to set your phone on silent and check it periodically instead of every few minutes.
Smartphone Distractions While Driving
Studies have proven that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. But even when you know it's bad, chances are the desire to send that text will override your better judgment.
Fix it: The key here is to keep distractions in the car at a minimal. While you'd most likely be better off not using your smartphone at all,
it is possible to drive safely while using your phone as long as you keep your eyes and focus on the road. Many of today's smartphones come equipped with voice control that lets you change a song or send a text message. When possible, do so only at a stoplight and keep an eye on the light to know when it changes.
You Don't Monitor Your Privacy Settings
This is probably the worse thing you can do since your smartphone retains a lot of personal data. That means anyone who steals your phone can easily access to your data. Plus, the apps on your phone may already be secretly tracking your information without you even realizing it's happening. Fix it: Luckily, these problems are pretty simple to fix. Secure your smartphone with a password and enable remote wipe in case your phone gets swiped. This prevents anyone from simply accessing your personal data and using it against you.
To avoid your phone from tracking what your doing, schedule a regular privacy audit once a month. For iPhone users, just open up the Settings app and tap Location Services to enable or disable app access.
For Android users, it requires a little more tinkering: make sure your phone isn't running a Carrier IQ program that's capable of tracking and reporting a massive amount of data. An app called Privacy Blocker can also perform that privacy audit for you by scanning the apps installed on your phone and giving you an overview of the data they're collecting. If you find any apps overreaching, just delete it.
Ignoring People in Favor of Your Smartphone
We've all been there, thumbing away at our phones while catching up with friends. Not only is this rude, can you honestly believe you're interacting with them while using your smartphone? And forget about multitasking, nobody is so busy that they need to eat and text/push/surf at the same time.
Fix it: Separate your smartphone and your human time. Remind yourself that your phone's is intended to keep you connected to people you care about. So when you're with them, just put it away or turn it off. If you're the type that's easily distracted, just turn off alerts and notifications. If someone else is constantly checking their phones, politely ask them to save it for later.