Our thought of the week is dedicated to Fone Free Feb, whose mission is to inspire us to disconnect for a short while in order to reconnect and spend quality time with the people around us without a phone in site.

We’ve reached an epidemic of Phone Separation Anxiety; the fear of being separated from our phones. Whether we are scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed, catching up on our Whatsapp chats, getting on top of our emails, or posting on Instagram – there’s always something to check, like, snap, or share, and it can become all-consuming.

Studies reveal that:

  • On average, many adults now spend more hours of the day using media devices (8 hrs 41 mins) than they do sleeping (8 hrs 21 mins);
  • On average, adults spend more time each morning checking emails and using the internet (51%) than eating breakfast (18%) or taking care of their appearance (32%);
  • More than 88% Australians use their smartphones on public transport, at work (92%), while watching TV (83%), when talking with friends (88%), and while driving (42%);
  • 44% of 18–34 year olds now check their device ‘almost always’ or ‘very often’ without being prompted;
  • Young adults use their phone roughly twice as much as they think they do.

(Think you beat the odds? Download this app to track when and how you spend your smartphone time).

There’s no doubt that technology has revolutionised our lives in an incredible way. We have to ask ourselves though, at what cost? Research shows that smartphone overuse has negative impacts on our own mental health and wellbeing including: links to anxiety and depression, lack of sleep, an increase in “technology stress” from being constantly connected to work and always on, and alarmingly a decline in the ability for children to read human emotion as face to face interaction is displaced by technologically mediated communication.

Since we are the last generation who knows a world without smartphones, it’s more vital than ever to implement a practice of ‘switching off’ and taking a break from our phones, not only to truely connect with those around us but to keep our own mental health and wellbeing in check. Be part of the movement this month and host a ‘Fone Free Feb’ event to raise funds for the youth mental health organisation, Batyr. If you are up for the challenge, pledge to unplug for 24 hours on Saturday 4th March as part of the National Day of Unplugging. And for those looking for more tips and tricks, Time Well Spent is a movement for a whole new type of technology that’s built to help people spend their time well. Below are their 9 actions that iPhone users can put in to place to help them develop a more mindful relationship with their phone.

Mindful Phone Use Tips