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8 tips to break free from your smartphone
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Constantly tethered to your smartphone? Experts are waving the red flag. While addition to your favorite portable gadget can be both hard to define and oddly socially acceptable, too much attention to tech can leave you drained and unable to concentrate. Here are eight ways to get your life back, now.

"Too much information can overwhelm our senses and leave us feeling depleted," says Courtney Stewart, research associate at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center in the U.S.

"Students and others could experience the inability to concentrate on the task at hand, be it school work, your job or an important conversation," she said. "School work may suffer, deadlines are not met, and many instructors and employers now ban the use of cell phones while in class or on the job." Even worse, walking or driving while distracted by your mobile phone can have even more serious consequences.

"So put the phone down and spend some time talking with your friends face to face or better yet, take a walk with your friends if you want to connect and get some mood-boosting exercis," she said.

But are we really addicted? A 2012 study from Baylor University in the UK found that mobile phone addiction is driven by the same impulses as credit card overspending and compulsive buying. Prior research has found that young adults send an average of nearly 110 text messages a day and check their email 60 times a day on average.

A separate 2011 study conducted by the University of Maryland's International Center for Media & the Public Agenda recorded reactions when it asked university students around the world to abstain from media for 24 hours, with students reporting cravings, anxiety and depression during the media fast.

If you think you may be tech obsessed, Stewart offers eight tips to breaking free from the chains.

1 • Turn your phone off (not just silenced) while in the movie theater, or leave your phone in the car when spending time with friends.

2 • Dine without your phone nearby, and never leave it directly on the table.

3 • Turn your phone off while doing homework or in a meeting.

4 • Resist the urge to tweet or update a Facebook status while at work.

5 • Go on a walk, whether it is with a partner, child or pet, and leave the phone at home.

6 • Trade in a mobile game for a game with others in person.

7 • Look up directions before getting in the car to avoid looking at a GPS while driving.

8 • Never text while driving.

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