According to Gartner, there are 7 billion mobile phones in the world today. That’s more than the number of working toilets which currently stands at 4 billion. We are currently living in an age of digital explosion and this is poised to increase with the current trend.
We are living in extraordinary times where mobile phones have become part of our daily lives, we spend more than half of our waking hours staring at a device of some kind. An average phone user checks his phone 150 times a day. That’s right. It’s unbelievable. And to make it more real locally here are some of the statistics from consumer report by Deloitte:
- 7 out of 10 digital users in Kenya are digital ‘addicts’
- 71% of Kenyans spend 5 minutes immediately after waking up on digital electronics (highest in Africa)
- 53% of Kenyans spend 5 minutes just before sleeping on their phones
- On average we spend 6-8hrs on our devices a day
These statistics are appalling, we’ve got to be worried about what the future entails.
The use of social media has been one of the key drivers to phone addiction. Among the top ten most-used apps in the world, 7 of them are social media apps (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, Twitter, and Snapchat). And the companies behind these apps know very well on how to keep us engaged.
We are constantly craving the drop of dopamine by logging in to these apps and the social media companies are developing psychological ways to continue manipulating our reward systems through algorithms that tailor our experience—this is why you wonder why you can’t put your phone away.
Why you should have a digital life balance
We need to take actions and manage the way we use our phones. I believe that tracking and being intentional in analyzing how we use our phones will enable us to be conscious of avoiding its excessive use. That is why Apple through its latest IOS update provided a way through which people can track on the number of hours they’ve been online. Users can also see which are their most-used apps, giving them the freedom to set limits on the amount of time they spend on any of the apps.
On Android, we’ve got an app like BreakFree which can help you track and alert you if you venture into the red lines. They’ve got rewards as well which will keep you on track in achieving a balanced digital life.
Digital/Life balance is a new metric to consider in quest of living a holistic and balanced life in the modern digital-mobile life. In an era where ordinary people spend half of their awake lives online, it has become vital to pit real-life against digital life, just like our image online and offline and how it affects our lives. We need to tame our digital life before it ruins our real one. Disconnect to reconnect.
Unplug, recharge and reboot.