wellness

"It's the best thing I’ve done for my mental health." 9 hacks to curb your phone addiction.

In Mamamia’s Parenting Hacks series, real women share their tips and tricks on everything from meal prep to organisation to nailing the morning routine.

This week, we asked our readers to share the hacks they've used to stop mindlessly scrolling.

Phone addiction is the obsessive use of a smartphone. 

More and more, researchers are finding our relationship with our devices is becoming considerably more reliant as time goes on.

Even Baba Vanga, the famous Nostradamus of the Balkans who was eerily able to predict several events, estimated that people would spend more time on their screens than ever before in 2022. 

Watch: Got teenagers who stay up all night on their phone? Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia.

Considering the amount of people who own a smartphone, it's not a hard prophecy to believe.

In Australia, a 2021 study found that 99.2 per cent of users have at least some fear of being without their mobile devices. 

Those same researchers from BehaviourWorks Australia also established that almost half of their participants spent more than three hours a day on their phone. 

Those are worrying numbers, right? 

But thankfully, there are some hacks and tips that we can all implement in our daily lives to reduce our screen time.

We reached out to our readers to find out what hacks they've used to keep off their devices.

Here's what they had to say. 

Turn your phone to greyscale mode. 

One reader shared that they turned their phone's display to greyscale mode, turning their screen black and white.

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"I changed my display to greyscale and I recommend others to do the same. No colour makes it less interesting to scroll, plus it is less stimulating and rewarding to your brain," Bec explained. 

In short, removing all colour from your screen can be an incredibly effective deterrent.

If you're using an iPhone, open up the Settings app, choose Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Colour Filters. Turn the Colour Filters switch on, and greyscale appears as the top option.

Image: Supplied. 

For greyscale on your Android or Pixel phone, open up Quick Settings and tap the pen icon on the lower left-hand side of your screen. Then simply drag the greyscale icon up into your panel of icons and you're sorted! You now have access to your phone's greyscale mode whenever you might need it.

Stop using your devices while eating meals.

This tip might be easier said than done but it can be a great way to get your screen time down. 

If you mindlessly scroll through your socials or watch videos on your phone while you eat, then it might be a good time to put your phone down. 

Claudia told Mamamia implementing this hack allowed her to take a moment to relax and enjoy her meals. 

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"I used to watch TikToks, YouTube videos and scroll though Instagram like crazy while eating - mostly because I didn't want it to look like I was lonely while eating alone on my lunch breaks, but I found myself not enjoying food I used to be excited for," she explained.

"I started putting my phone down or just plugging in my headphones and listening to a podcast instead, so that I could relish my lunch breaks."

If it makes sense to leave your phone at home, then do. 

"I only take my phone with me if I think I might need to be contacted," Virginia told Mamamia

"I never take it when I'm walking or riding my bike. I don't even have it with me when grocery shopping. It's not in my bedroom at night either and realistically, I only check Facebook and Instagram once a day... usually in the morning."

Only allow yourself one day a month on social media. 

This is a tough one, but it could be beneficial to get your screen time down if you feel as though your reliance on your device is starting to take a toll. 

One Mamamia reader told us she deletes her social media apps every month and only allows herself one day to upload content, look through friend's profiles, and catch up on anything she might have missed. 

"Since lockdown last year, I’ve been doing one day a month on Instagram," Brooke shared. 

"I upload a bunch of photos from the month and have a big, stalker-like scroll of my friends and people I follow. Then I sign out at the end of the day, ready for the next month," she explained.

"It's the best thing I’ve done for my mental health. And it saves all the time that I spent endlessly scrolling stories."

Make a 'no phones day' rule. 

This is a perfect hack for families. One mum told Mamamia she started 'No Device Sunday' in her family.

"I don't let the kids or my husband use their devices," Julia explained.

"Obviously we keep a phone on one of us in case of emergency but we like to make Sunday a family day. We go to the park, watch a movie, or go outdoors and explore. It's helped our kids so much with being more present and curious, and it's a lovely bonding experience."

Listen to Mamamia's parenting podcast, Help! I Have A Teenager. Post continues below.

Turn notifications off. 

Another tip that came up time and time again was turning off unnecessary notifications.

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"All notifications are turned off except for texts and some WhatsApp groups for kids' activities like netball where things might change at the last minute," Carolina shared. 

"When I need to focus at work or if I find that I'm checking my phone too often, I turn on work time / focus mode through the digital wellbeing app. You can choose which apps/functions you'd like to still work. I still use Spotify, and my phone calls and texts still come through," she explained.

"I've also set up my phone to go into bedtime mode at 10pm which stops all notifications and turns the screen to grey scale. It's generally a visual reminder to me that it's time for bed."

Charge your phone elsewhere.

This tip might be difficult if you have a reliance on your phone, but it could be beneficial to your sleeping schedule.

"I keep my phone in the kitchen - which is still close to my bedroom," Stephanie told Mamamia

"It made me incredibly restless to begin with but within a few days, I was sleeping better. I highly recommend!"

When watching TV, keep your phone away from you.

Sarah told Mamamia she likes to keep her phone hidden or in a different room when she is watching TV. 

"It helps me focus on a movie or show more! I actually retain some memory of what I watch now. It's so much better. Just stick it in your bedroom, or leave it in the kitchen."

Check your screen time and limit your access to your most-used apps. 

If you're unsure about how much time you are spending on your phone, don't shy away from checking your screen time. It could be brutally humbling, but it is the best way to figure out what steps to take next. The screen time section also has a feature where you can see how long you spend on each app. 

If you find yourself spending hours on TikTok (no judgement, I promise), it might be time to let that app go. If you spend all your time on Facebook but don't want to get rid of it, limit your access to the app. 

All in all, there are many incremental changes we can bring into our lives to limit how much time we spend on our phones. 

You can catch up on our previous Parenting Hacks articles here: 

Have a hack to limit your screen time on your smart device? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Mamamia.

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