April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As the number of mobile phone users continues to grow, phone addiction is becoming a real problem. Each year, Zendrive conducts a study to determine smartphone usage and the risks that phone addiction contributes towards distracted driving.
According to the study data 6,227 pedestriansin 2018 were killed by people driving while using to their phones. Furthermore, there was an increase in distracted driving from smartphone usage by 10% over the previous year.1
Sadly, the results of this study now make smartphone addicts the top threat to people on the road, replacing drunk driving at the biggest threat to public safety. Smartphone addicts simply do not care if they drive distracted. To them, the risk of causing an accident is worth using their phone while driving.
What Can Be Done for Smartphone Addiction?
Just like other addictions, the first step to recovery is acknowledging one has a problem. For family and friends, it can be very frustrating when they know their loved one is suffering from phone addiction but cannot do anything to stop it.
Once the addict is ready to admit they need help, they can start to take steps to address their addiction. For some people, this could ultimately mean having to give up using smartphones entirely. It largely depends on the extent of the addiction and the addictive behaviours of the individual.
In other cases, some people just need help and guidance to develop better smartphone usage behaviours. Once they learn these new behaviours, such as not using their phones while driving, watching TV, engaging in conversations, and so on, then they may be able to keep their smartphones.
What If Someone Doesn’t Want Help?
Unfortunately, you cannot force someone to get help with smartphone addiction. Forcing them to do something they do not want to do will not be very productive, nor will it do anything to help them overcome their addiction. Instead, they are most likely to relapse back into their existing behaviours after they believe they have sufficiently satisfied their family and friends.
Furthermore, they can start to exhibit similar behaviours as someone with a drug or alcohol addiction who does not want help. They will hide their smartphone and only use it when no one else is around.
What Can Family and Friends Do?
Family and friends of someone with a smartphone addiction can seek help through counselling services. Counselling provides a safe environment to express your concerns while learning how to deal with the smartphone addict in a productive manner.
Sometimes an intervention conducted by a trained counsellor could also be beneficial. Again, it largely will depend on the particular circumstances whether an intervention is recommended. In addition, once the smartphone addict decides they need help, family and friend group counselling can be beneficial to rebuild relationships.