5 tips to help students manage phone use
When it comes to phones, just like everything, moderation is key. Here are five strategies that can help students become less reliant on their phone.
- Put away your phone when studying
If a student’s phone is out of reach out of sight, it is much easier to stop the habit of constantly checking it. This is the perfect opportunity to let it charge in a different room, or to give it to a trusted adult to look after for a certain period of time.
- Turn off sound notifications
The “ding” noises and vibrations are designed to shout for our attention. This encourages students to check their phone immediately. By turning off sound notifications or, even better, putting their phone on airplane mode while they’re studying, students can become in control of when they actually check their phone.
- Put a timer on your phone use
It is important for students to give themselves a deadline. It’s important to take breaks and relax, but apps and websites are created to be addictive and make time fly. Checking their phone for one message can quickly turn into students checking all their social media. Next thing they know, it’s been 2 hours. A timer can help them monitor their phone use – for example, setting one for 10 minutes allows for a guilt-free break that doesn’t eat into precious study time.
- Understand that multi-tasking is a myth
We all love to think we’re great at multi-tasking, but the truth is that when we think we’re doing several things at once, we’re actually only switching rapidly between them. Each switch has an attention and energy cost. This not only makes everything take longer – it also makes us less accurate and more prone to making errors. If students focus on one task a time and devote their full attention to it, they’ll be done much faster with less mistakes.
- Turn down the phone backlight
Ideally, students should not use their phone at all in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime. But if that’s too difficult, they should at least turn down their backlight, hold their phone at least 12 inches from their eyes and use a blue light filter – this feature now comes built into most phones, but many apps also exist to help. While they don’t suppress it entirely, these tips should help reduce the negative impact phones have on our production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.
As with all technology, it is not what it is but how it is used that ultimately defines whether phones will help or hinder someone.
Understanding the impact of constantly being on their phone and being reliant on it will allow students to make more informed decisions about their usage and end mobile phone addiction.