Many people don’t see any problem with spending most of their waking hours in front of a smartphone screen. But some are beginning to ask themselves if they are wasting too much time checking on an endless stream of messages.
Yin Haolong from mainland China recently did an experiment and posted his findings on the internet. The response was overwhelming.
Earlier this year, Yin started to think that his smartphone was taking up too much of his time. He felt he needed some breathing space.
“I used to get interrupted by phone messages all the time and during work. I would check messages 20 to 30 times a day. When a new email arrived, I would open and read it instantly. I joined dozens of chat groups, with SMS, WeChat and all that, they occupied a big portion of my time,” Yin shared on the internet.
“Why am I so addicted to these phone messages? If I cut them off, will my world continue to spin?” Yin asked himself.
Why should we be reachable anytime and anywhere? Why are we expected to respond to a message immediately?
In the following three months, Yin limited himself to checking his phone only two times a day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
He turned off the message alert, he muted WeChat. He even diverted his phone calls to a mail box during work hours, except calls from his family and very close friends.
He assured his friends that he always goes through all messages and gives out a reply within 12 hours.
Soon, Yin discovered some changes.
“There is really no need to stay connected all the time,” Yin wrote. “Before 3G and Apps became popular, like five years ago, life was much simpler.”
“Your private time is very precious and very rarely would people need to reach you urgently.”
In fact, he found out that most “urgent” matters got solved without his involvement.
His friends are also adapting to his newfound phone diet. They patiently wait for his reply, and call him up if it is really important.
Yin started an online movement to reduce dependency and addiction to the smartphone, and it drew a far bigger response than expected.
For people who have developed the habit of checking the phone for messages every minute, and those who always worry they are missing something, it’s probably time to rethink their relationship with their smartphone.
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