Ten ways to take control of your smartphone


becca caddy the observer

Are you in control of your smartphone or is it in control of you? Sometimes it is difficult to tell. One minute you might be using FaceTime to chat with loved ones or talking about your favourite TV show on Twitter. Next, you’re stuck in a TikTok “scroll hole” or tapping your 29th email notification of the day and no longer able to focus on anything else.

We often feel like we can’t pull ourselves away from our devices. As various psychologists and Silicon Valley whistleblowers have stated, that is by design.

Many people are making efforts to resist and step away from their smartphones. A 2021 survey by research company GWI found that people of all ages limit the time they spend on social media – especially younger respondents. Twenty-five per cent of gen Z and 23% of millennials said they now look at social apps less to help manage their mental health.

But as recent studies suggest, not all tech time is created equal. Passively scrolling Facebook and comparing your life with other people’s has never been a recipe for happiness. But actively using Twitter for social support can be.

So instead of setting well-intentioned but ultimately unsustainable resolutions or signing up for some kind of extreme “digital detox”, think about changing the settings on some of your apps to make them less of a time sink.

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