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'People Check Their Phones Every 12 Minutes:' Phone Companies that Got Us Addicted Introduce New Ways to Free Us

08-06-2018

The next time you're in a public place, just look around and you're sure to see people looking down at their cell phones.

According to research conducted by several research firms, Americans are addicted to their mobile devices.

A new study from the British group Ofcom found that on average, people check their smartphones once every 12 minutes.

"We spend on average five hours a day, not just on smartphones, but on any smart device," said CBN News Tech Lifestyle expert Caleb Kinchlow.

"A lot of people are experiencing anxiety and depression due to their efforts seeking validation through social media. It becomes this cycle. But spending five hours a day on any smart device becomes an addiction," he noted.

Distraction by cell phone now even has a name. It's called "phubbing" – the practice of snubbing someone you're with to look at your cell phone instead.

Most have been a victim as well as a culprit of phubbing and a growing number of people are starting to fight back against the trend.

In June, Simon Cowell told a U.K. newspaper, "I literally have not been on my phone for 10 months." 

He added, "The difference it made was that I became more aware of the people around me and way more focused." It has been so good for my mental health. It's a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made me happier."

Even smartphone companies recognize the dangers of phone addiction.

Apple recently premiered an app that helps users keep track of their tech usage. Users will be able to see a report on their app usage. Parents will also be able to set up the app on their children's devices to track how much time they're spending on their electronics.

Android also has plans to help consumers curb their phone addictions.

And social media giants Facebook and Instagram are rolling out new features designed to help mobile app users spend less time on their platforms.

The new set of features, called "Your time on Facebook" and "Your activity" on Instagram, will allow users to see how much time they've spent in the apps, set limits on usage time, and snooze notifications for a set amount of time.

Meanwhile, some restaurants are getting in on the intervention too.

Hearth, an Italian-inspired eatery in New York's East Village helps customers disconnect from their devices by having them place their phones in a small box on their table.

The Fat Boar Pub in the U.K. offers mobile-free Mondays, where dinner is discounted 25 percent if customers check their phones at the door.

And some establishments have banned cell phones altogether. In Chicago, The Violet Hour bar is a no-phone zone.

All of these are efforts to get people to connect face-to-face while disconnecting from the tech world.

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