Several studies have shown that spending too much time on your phone can lead to very undesirable consequences. For parents, it can make their children feel neglected and unimportant—up to 50% of kids feel that their parent are on their phones too much.
A study published early this year found that babies of parents distracted by their mobile phones are at a higher risk for detrimental effects on brain development due to distracted parenting.
For couples, research from Baylor University showed that “phubbing”—snubbing someone you’re with by paying more attention to your phone—can damage romantic relationships leading to lower levels of relationship satisfaction and even depression.
Ready to turn your life around? Creating change doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, your phone may already have a built in feature that could help curb your screen habit and notification compulsion.
James Hamblin, MD, senior editor at The Atlantic, shares this simple but amazingly effective hack: switch your phone' screen from colored to black and white.
“There's a reason every notification on your phone is red. It’s a color that stimulates excitement in the brain,” says Hamblin. Because the colors have tricked your brain into a fabricated sense of excitement, it’s harder to look away. Turn off the colors and it makes it harder to idly and mindlessly stay on your phone. You'll find yourself doing things on your phone more purposefully.
The grayscale dulls down attention-grabbing images, helping you focus more on words and making infinite scrolling through Facebook less exciting. It can also have the pleasant effect of forcing you to notice just how vibrant and colorful life is, helping you appreciate what’s right in front of you--your family.
“You end up checking your phone way less and noticing the beauty in the natural world around you,” says Hamblin.
To turn an Apple device’s screen into grayscale simply open settings, tap on “General” and you should find it under the “Accessibility” menu. Don’t worry. Grayscale doesn’t disable any of your phone’s functions. It will run exactly the same only now the colors remind you of an old-fashioned TV set.
Later Android devices have an “ultra power saving mode” that turns the screen into grayscale to save on battery. It also limits the number of apps that can be accessed, so that’s also useful if you’re trying to cut back on a specific app.
Less screen time can be just a few taps away. Are you up for the challenge?