Connect with us


How to kick a phone addiction? Here are our favorite tips.



Adam Birney / Android Authority

Smartphones can be incredibly productive tools for certain tasks, but sometimes we can get a little too attached to the point of obsession. Nearly everyone nowadays owns a phone, and the rise in use seems like a natural necessity to navigate modern life.

But an increasing number of people are finding it stressful or even unbearable to live without one. Doctors have started calling this behavioral addiction “nomophobia,” as in no-mobile-phone-phobia or the fear of being without a mobile device. Here’s what you need to know about phone addiction and some tips and tricks from the team here at Android Authority to help combat it.

What the scientific research says

Some may be skeptical that phone addiction is a real thing. But several studies on the heavy use of these devices should raise eyebrows. Here are just a few shocking statistics to consider.

You may still think, so what if so many people can’t put their phones away? Isn’t it up to them to choose how they spend their time? Of course, people are free to make their own choices, even if it is choosing to have a phone instead of wearing shoes. But our capacity to choose becomes clouded when interacting with something that literally rewires the brain.

Our capacity to choose becomes clouded when interacting with something that literally rewires the brain.

The nature of addiction involves an inability to control usage, a compulsion to use without being conscious of it, and persistence to continue using despite harmful consequences to oneself and others. For example, someone who smokes cigarettes may know the dangers and want to quit but simply can’t without support. Similarly, overcoming phone addiction often involves awareness and a plan to taper use with the encouragement of others.

The consequences of phone addiction

If you don’t think phones can be as bad for you as cigarettes, you may be surprised. Chronic phone use has been shown to alter our brain chemistry, such as causing GABA dysfunction (a neurotransmitter in the brain that produces a calming or euphoric effect) and a loss of Grey Matter in the brain (a part of the central nervous system responsible for enabling individuals to control movement, memory, and emotions). Researchers have noted that both brain changes are highly similar to those who struggle with substance use disorders.

grey matter brain smartphone addiction

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Physical signs of phone addiction resemble substance abuse.

But it’s not just ourselves that phone addiction harms. We can become so distracted by our phones that we often fail to see the most basic things, sometimes at great cost to others. One extreme example involved security camera footage from San Francisco public transit, which revealed that a shooter could pull out his gun and handle it at length without anyone noticing before he eventually shot a fellow passenger. Being distracted from our immediate environment can mean the difference between life and death.

Tips and tricks from the AA team

Here at Android Authority, phones aren’t just a hobby, they’re a full-time job. Still, our team members are aware of the harms they can cause and have built strategies to help them avoid addiction. I asked them to share their best tips.

The advice given can be broken down into three basic strategies: limiting notifications, taking purposeful breaks, and thinking critically about how you use your phone. Here are some quotes from the team on each method to fight phone addiction.

Limit notifications

Android 13 New Notification Permissions

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Our smartphones are designed to be hard to put down. The technology purposely keeps us engaged by using colors, sounds, and vibrations for notification alerts. Selecting which apps can deliver notifications or silencing them all can help prevent distraction. Here’s how some of our team members control their notifications.

“I turned off audible notifications a long time ago, and I’ve never turned them back on. I live my life, and when I am ready to dive into the phone, the messages are right there for me to deal with. While I still spend a lot of time on the phone, for work and leisure, I do not allow notifications to distract me when I am not on the phone. I’m much happier for it.”

I choose when to pick my phone up and engage, not the other way around.

“So far, I have only taken one step to actively reduce my phone usage, which is to put my phone on Do Not Disturb all the time. Only phone calls and alarms can ring — anything else is silent. That greatly reduces the urgency to check my phone every time it dings or pings or hums or drums.”

“My phone is on do not disturb 100% of the time. I choose when to pick it up and engage, not the other way around. Likewise, I disable all but key messaging app notifications on my smartwatch and limit cross-device syncing (e.g., getting phone notifications on my laptop).”

Take deliberate breaks

A woman touching the JBL Charge 5 as it rests on the armrest of her chair.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Setting aside a time of day when you do not use your phone is a great way to give yourself a routine break from your devices. Here’s how and when some of our team members make sure to put their phones away.

“I consciously ignore my phone on weekends and during family or friend outings. I can look at the always-on display and see if there’s anything urgent (spoiler: nothing really is), and when I’m wearing my Pixel Watch, I get a vibration only from a few very select apps. My phone is nearby if I need it, but it’s not a priority then. The silent notifications help a lot.”

“I don’t look at my phone at all until after I’ve showered, eaten breakfast, and taken my daughter to daycare. A small declaration of “me time” each day before The Internet intrudes and messes it all up. Whatever is on there has gone unattended to while I was asleep anyway, so an extra hour or two isn’t going to make much difference.”

“I started placing my phone in a drawer in the evenings when I spend time with my wife to stop myself from randomly checking it and getting lost on Twitter or Reddit.”

“One way is by just placing my phone in a completely different room in the house before going to bed. It’s hard the first few days, but if you stick it through, you get into the habit of not checking your phone right as you’re trying to fall asleep.”

Become conscious of your usage and go easy on yourself

Google Digital Wellbeing stock photo 5

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Breaking any kind of addiction is hard and won’t happen in one day. But taking small steps each day and being aware of how and when you use your phone is ultimately one of the best strategies for establishing healthy digital habits. Here are some insights from our team on how they consciously monitor their mobile usage.

“My phone addiction ebbs and flows. There are days when I barely touch my phone because I’m enjoying some relaxing time with my husband/family or I’m working at my desk (another screen, ha!) and days when I can’t seem to put the phone down. I have learned to accept the good and the bad of these, knowing that they balance out eventually.”

“I found that placing a widget on my home screen that shows the total time I spent on the phone that day is useful. Most days, it’s at least two hours, going up to three or four, which is way more than it should be to me. Especially considering I spend most of my day in front of my computer anyway.”

“While Digital Wellbeing and Screen Time are fine additions to popular platforms, I think they also have the potential to outsource responsibility a bit (e.g., by looking at your stats, you’re somehow “doing something” when in reality you’re not. Also, their very existence on your phone means you’re, um, still on your phone).

Just as phone addiction slowly escalates, fighting that addiction becomes easier over time too

I think it’s better to self-reflect on what and how you use your phone and be honest with yourself. If you know why you do something, it’ll be far easier to change your bad habits for the better. Plus, spending some time thinking critically about how you use your phone at least means you’re not actually on it.

And finally, a word of wisdom: Just as phone addiction slowly escalates, fighting that addiction becomes easier over time too. I used to use my phone far more than I do now. But the more you define boundaries, the easier it gets not to pick your phone up compulsively. I can easily go an entire weekend without even touching a smartphone if I’ve got better things to do. But I had to start somewhere.

That’s all the advice from our team here at Android Authority. To recap, silence unimportant notifications, have a set period of the day or week where you do not use your phone, and use visual reminders such as screen time widgets or Digital Wellbeing to put your phone usage into perspective and set boundaries around your habits. We hope this article helps you understand and overcome any phone addictions you or your friends might face.

Source link

Continue Reading


Helping people living with dementia ‘flourish’ through dance



Dr. Pia Kontos, a Senior Scientist at UHN’s KITE Research Institute, is co-leading an initiative to help people living with dementia flourish. (Photo: Tim Fraser/UHN KITE Studio)

Dr. Pia Kontos believes in the power of the arts to support people to live well with dementia.

The Senior Scientist at UHN’s KITE Research Institute focuses on challenging policies and practices that discriminate against those living with dementia and developing and evaluating arts-based and digital knowledge translation initiatives to reduce stigma, improve social inclusion and quality of care for them.

“The predominant assumption is people living with dementia don’t have the capacity to be creative,” says Dr. Kontos, who is also a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. “However, we know through extensive research that dance…powerfully supports people living with dementia to be creative and to flourish.

“And flourishing should be a goal that we all have.”

Dr. Kontos co-produced in 2023 Dancer Not Dementia, a short documentary film. It captured the power of a dance program for seniors – Sharing Dance Older Adults (SDOA) – to challenge the stigma associated with dementia, support social inclusion and enrich lives. It’s told through the eyes of residents and staff at Alexis Lodge Dementia Care Residence and Cedarhurst Dementia Care Home in Toronto.

SDOA was jointly developed by Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) and Baycrest Centre in 2013 for older adults with a range of physical and cognitive abilities, including dementia.

Typically, dance programs in dementia care settings are provided as a therapeutic intervention for older adults. However, SDOA’s goal is to provide a creative outlet for participants and opportunities for social interaction with other people living with dementia, staff and loved ones.

Now, Dr. Kontos will look to incorporate traditions from marginalized communities into SDOA through a $750,000 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging Implementation Science Team Grant. Dr. Rachel Bar, Director of Research and Health at NBS is co-principal applicant for the grant.

This CIHR funding supports projects that evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs, services and models of care that show promise for those impacted by cognitive impairment and dementia. An important focus is improving equitable and inclusive access to care and support.

The three-year grant to Drs. Kontos and Bar will support SDOA efforts to partner with organizations in Black, Chinese and South Asian communities to integrate their cultural practices into its programming.

Training dancers from these communities to teach the adapted program is central to these partnerships.

“People living with dementia from marginalized communities rarely have their traditions honoured with art and leisure programming,” says Dr. Kontos.

“It’s important to align dance programs with the cultural traditions of these communities. Otherwise, the music and movements wouldn’t reflect the experiences of ethno-culturally diverse populations, and the programs wouldn’t be inclusive.

“We wouldn’t be supporting their capacity to be creative or to be in relationships with others through dance. We would be falling short.”

SDOA has already partnered with Alexis Lodge, Alzheimer Society of Canada, Baycrest, NBS, Indus Community Services, Social Planning Council of Ottawa, and Yee Hong for this initiative.


Source link

Continue Reading


CDC: Heat may have contributed to four human cases of bird flu in Colorado



Credit: Alexas Fotos from Pexels

Heat probably played a role in at least four cases of bird flu in poultry workers confirmed by U.S. health officials Sunday—the first cases in poultry workers in two years.

Sweltering temperatures in Colorado rose to at least 104 degrees, which is suspected to have contributed to the human cases, according to Dr. Nirav Shah, principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The barns where poultry workers were culling chickens were “no doubt even hotter,” Shah said during a press conference on the most recent outbreak of bird flu in humans.

The new cases bring the U.S. total to at least nine cases since the first human case of the current outbreak was detected in 2022, also in a Colorado poultry worker. Eight of the nine were reported this year.

The workers were separating chickens that were going to be killed to stop the spread of the virus. The fans may also have contributed to the human infections because, while helping to keep the environment cooler, they “also spread things like feathers around which are known to carry the virus,” Shah added.

The large and strong fans also make it difficult for protective goggles and face masks to stay in place, he said.

About 60 workers at the poultry farm showed symptoms of illness and were tested for bird flu. Four tested positive for bird flu and one additional presumptive case is awaiting confirmation.

The illnesses were relatively mild, with symptoms including conjunctivitis and common respiratory infection symptoms like fever, chills, coughing, and runny nose, according to the CDC. None were hospitalized, officials said. The other U.S. cases have also been mild.

Officials said they are bracing for more cases.

The CDC says the risk to the general public remains low and the health agency is not recommending livestock workers be vaccinated against bird flu given the “mild symptoms noted thus far,” Shah said.

An initial analysis of virus samples from an infected poultry worker does not show any changes in the virus that would make it easier to spread among people and there is no evidence of person-to-person spread in the U.S.

“It’s important to note that this assessment is based on what we know today and may change,” Shah said. “CDC is constantly looking for key changes that may alter our risk assessment of the virus, such as the severity of illness that it causes, the ease with which it can transmit to humans or changes to its genetic fingerprint.”

At the request of Colorado’s officials, the CDC sent a 10-person team to Colorado to help the state manage the bird flu outbreak in humans and poultry. The team included epidemiologists, veterinarians, clinicians and industrial hygienists.

Shah also noted it was a bilingual team. Overall in the U.S., it is estimated about half of farm workers are Latino.

An analysis of the virus from an infected worker indicates that the infections at the chicken farm are “largely the same” as the strain detected in dairy herds in Colorado and other states, according to Shah. But an investigation is ongoing to determine exactly how the outbreak is spreading between wild birds, chicken and cattle.

Since 2022, a highly contagious strain of bird flu has spread across the U.S. at an unprecedented rate.

Georgia’s powerhouse poultry industry, which produces more broiler chickens than any other in the country, has mostly dodged the kinds of major outbreaks that have resulted in the deaths of more 90 million birds in commercial and backyard poultry flocks in the U.S.

About 1.8 million chickens will be killed at the Colorado poultry farm after these latest bird flu cases were detected.

In late 2023, ducks at a commercial breeding farm in Sumter County, Georgia, tested positive for H5N1. This year, in March, the virus made a jump to a mammal species that surprised many scientists: cows.

With a significant dairy industry, plus even larger beef and poultry interests, the potential arrival of the virus here threatens Georgia’s economy and the health of residents.

As of Monday, the H5N1 virus has been confirmed in 158 dairy herds in 13 states, according U.S. Agriculture Department.

So far in Georgia, there have been no bird flu cases in cattle, and there have been no human cases.

Since the unprecedented spread of H5N1 in poultry in 2022, the Georgia Department of Public Health has quietly monitored 132 people for signs of the virus, according to DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam. Those tracked were either first responders to one of the state’s few virus outbreaks in backyard and commercial poultry flocks or farmworkers where the infections occurred. Of those monitored, fewer than 10 people were tested for H5N1 and none came back positive.

Since the virus was discovered in cattle, a small number of first responders from Georgia who went to other states to help with investigations—fewer than 15—have also been monitored for signs of illness.

Federal officials said Tuesday they still believe they can eliminate the bird flu virus from , even as the number of herds infected continues to grow. The latest state to recently report infected dairy cattle was Oklahoma. North Carolina is the only state adjacent to Georgia to report an infected dairy herd.

Eric Deeble, acting senior adviser for the H5N1 response at the USDA, said investigations show the is spreading among cattle through cattle moved from one herd to another and the shared use of milking equipment. It can be contained through enhanced biosecurity measures such as thoroughly cleaning milking “parlors” and equipment, separating sick cows, and having dairy workers wear protective equipment.

Deeble also noted USDA scientists are also working with partners to develop a cattle-specific H5N1 vaccine—a process requires many steps and will take time.

The USDA is also exploring the possibility of developing a poultry vaccine as the number of cases soar, and outbreaks lead to the slaughter of millions of farmed birds. But USDA and industry stakeholders point to challenges that would hinder a vaccination program.

The biggest sticking point is around trade.

Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, said mass vaccination would be impractical for several reasons, including the fact that the industry would lose its lucrative export market: The United States and many of its trade partners restrict the import of products or eggs from countries affected by the highly pathogenic strain or flocks that have been vaccinated against it.

“(Bird flu) has been, from an animal health standpoint, our top concern,” Giles said. “The challenge, and I think the industry has responded to it well, has been maintaining the state of preparedness and urgency and focus on biosecurity, and I think that has been accomplished.”

2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

CDC: Heat may have contributed to four human cases of bird flu in Colorado (2024, July 17)
retrieved 17 July 2024

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.



Source link

Continue Reading


Here is the new guidance for RSV vaccines



Health officials recently changed the guidelines for respiratory syncytial virus vaccines. Here’s what Canadians need to know about the guidance and the virus itself.

New guidance on vaccines

As of July 12, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now recommends RSV vaccines for individuals who are 75 years old and older, especially those who have a greater risk of developing severe RSV.

Based on current evidence and expert opinion, NACI said in a news release, it also strongly recommends vaccines for those aged 60 and older who live in nursing homes and other chronic care facilities.

What is RSV?

RSV is a common contagious virus that often causes bronchiolitis, a lung infection, and pneumonia.

Infants face the highest risk of developing severe RSV disease, however, this risk also increases with age and with certain medical conditions, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). It can lead to serious complications for older people, including hospitalization and death.

What are the symptoms?

RSV typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms that usually begin two to eight days after exposure to the virus, according to PHAC.

Those with RSV may experience a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, fever and less appetite and energy. Infants may be irritable, have trouble breathing and have less appetite and energy.

What is the treatment?

RSV infections are usually mild and last about one to two weeks. If you are infected, health officials recommend you stay home and limit contact with others.

They also recommend lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Take over-the-counter products, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, if you have a fever. Seek immediate care or go to the hospital if you’re having trouble breathing or become dehydrated, PHAC adds.

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading