What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

 

Heinz products

 

 

Below is an article published on 22 June 2016,  about the famous Heinz brand promoting some of its sugary products as healthy. So, mums and mums-to-be, beware!

 

 

 

 

Legal Action Brought Against Heinz Over Kids’ Sugary Snacks

Food companies who make misleading health claims on children’s products have been put on notice by Australia’s consumer watchdog, which is taking multinational Heinz to court for promoting its sugary Shredz toddler products as healthy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has started legal proceedings in the Federal Court against H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd in relation to the food snacks marketed to one-to-three-year-olds.

It alleges Heinz is falsely marketing these products as healthy options for young children, when they are not.

In a statement, Heinz said it strenuously denied the ACCC allegations and looked forward to defending it’s position.

“Heinz takes labelling of products very seriously and compiles with all Australian labelling and food laws,” it said.

The Shredz product range includes three varieties – peach apple and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds – and has been available in major supermarkets nationally since at least August 2013.

They are predominantly made from fruit juice concentrate and pastes.

“These products contain over 60 per cent sugar, which is significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables – for example, an apple contains approximately 10 per cent sugar,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC also alleges the Heinz Shredz products are likely to inhibit the development of a child’s taste for natural fruit and vegetables.

Particular issue has been taken with the products’ packaging, which features prominent images of fresh fruit and vegetables and statements such as ‘99% fruit and veg’.

Mr Sims says major companies have an obligation under the Australian Consumer Law to ensure products’ health claims do not mislead the public.

The legal action has been roundly welcomed by dieticians and obesity prevention advocates, including the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC).

“The OPC is pleased to see such strong action from the ACCC against Heinz for potentially misleading parents who are simply trying to do their best to feed their children nutritious food,” OPC executive manager Jane Martin said.

“It’s very difficult for parents to know which foods are healthy and which aren’t, particularly for toddlers. I think parents are really trying to make the right choices and they need good, clear, honest information about the nature of the products,” Ms Martin said.

“Many parents would be shocked to know that just one 18g serve of Shredz contains almost an entire day’s worth of added sugar for a two-year-old.

Paediatric dietitian and nutritionist Hanan Saleh agrees, and says packaged snacks, like Little Kids Shredz, are not a healthy alternative to a piece of fruit.

When it comes to making healthy food choices for children, Ms Saleh says parents really need to go back to basics or “paddock to plate”.

“Parents should always think twice before picking up anything in packages,” Ms Saleh told AAP.

The average piece of fruit only contains about 10g of sugar per 100g and also has fibre and important vitamins and minerals.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices and costs.


Heinz is not the only guilty one.

According to The New Daily,  “in 2014, consumer group CHOICE rated 260 snack foods aimed at children and their lunch boxes, to find which were nutritionally poor”. It found high levels of sugar in servings of products aimed at toddlers and children in a major Melbourne supermarket.

Here are some of its findings:

baby food

baby food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How far can we trust these companies when it comes to feeding our kids? Seriously, what are we feeding our kids?

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Baby Products: What the hell are we using for our babies’ hygiene?

Baby Products

Whilst getting ready for our daughter’s birth, my husband and I got overwhelmed by the number of ‘baby products’ out there and we got a little confused about what would be the safest brand for the baby. You only have to wander in the ‘baby products’ aisle of a pharmacy or a supermarket to get an idea. What should we buy then?

Or, what should we NOT buy?

In February, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer. It was found that there was a link between her ovarian cancer and the Johnson talc she has been using. Apart from this case, Johnson & Johnson is facing 1400 lawsuits involving Johnson’s Baby Powder. That sounds scary!

It is alarming that it is only in 2014 that Johnson & Johnson flooded the shelves with new ‘improved’ baby products as it finally managed to remove two harmful ingredients: (1) Formaldehyde, which has been identified by government scientists as a carcinogen, released over time by preservatives, like quaternium-15. (2) 1,4-dioxane, which has been linked to cancer in animal studies, created during a process used to make other ingredients mild. What about those who used the products before 2014?

The question is: would you trust Johnson and Johnson’s products for your newborn? Which product to trust?

According an article from The Connexion newspaper published on 15 February 2016:

NEARLY 300 baby products on sale in France contain chemicals that have a moderate to elevated risk of causing allergic reactions and health problems, according to a report. The study by the group Women in Europe for a Common Future (link) looked at 341 baby products on sale in supermarkets, pharmacies and specialist shops across the country and found the vast majority included chemicals that carried health risks.

The group used criteria set out by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety and France’s Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament to judge the safety of products.

Among the chemicals the group found that were classed as having an “elevated risk” were an allergen (methylisothiazolinone) discovered in 19 products, including baby wipes, a preservative that can have side effects on the reproductive system (phenoxyethanol) and potentially allergenic perfumes in 226 products.

The WECF has demanded that these three ingredients be banned from all cosmetic products used by children under three years old. The group found 181 products contained chemicals rated as having a “moderate risk” such as EDTA and sulphates, found in shampoos, bubble bath and wipes.

It also noted mineral oils that had been refined from petroleum which could be contaminated with impurities and nanoparticles in skin creams that had yet to have their effects properly evaluated. “We were surprised at the ubiquity of perfumes in almost all the products,” said Elisabeth Ruffinengo of the WECF. The skin of young children is more sensitive and more permeable than that of adults and older children, making the study of the chemicals in baby wipes particularly important. In 2013, the consumer group UFC-Que Choisir also raised the alert over baby wipes when it found that of the 27 brands it tested, 94% contained potentially harmful chemicals.

What about Mauritius?

I cannot recall the number of times I have been advised to use talc with my baby (not Johnson’s brand in particular… but still …) Johnson & Johnson products are very popular in Mauritius; if I consider my relatives and friends alone, I know for a fact that they are not aware of the risks of some chemicals used in some ‘baby products’, let alone the lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, and the names of those harmful chemicals…

Some well known and widely used brands of wipes are ‘Bebedou’, ‘Bebe Calin’, ‘Pampers’ and ‘Nivea’.

According to an article from l’Express newspaper, Bebedou contains phenoxyethanol; Bebe Calin contains methylisothiazolinone, perfume and EDTA; Pampers contains phenoxyethanol and EDTA and Nivea contains phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone and perfume — all potentially harmful chemicals.

The article published on 6 March 2016 states that when contacted, the Ministry of Commerce declared they were now going to conduct tests on the wipes. Result of these tests to date? Well, nothing yet. In the meantime, the shelves remain flooded with all the supposedly ‘best’ products for your baby.

The body part of a baby which really needs some cleaning up is the bum. And that part is cleaned numerous times a day and over the night too. So, no use spending lots over shower gels, baby baths etc. as you never know what’s in these ‘baby products’. Given the numerous concerns, we are left wondering: which product to trust for our baby?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Great Posts from Undigitize.me

I’ve come across 2 great posts from Undigitize.me; the first one is entitled Overview of a Mobile Addict with the following infographic:

mobile addiction

 

The second post is about how you can try to beat the addiction, entitled “Cut Out — Let in”.

He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. That’s what an English proverb says. But I would rather suggest you to fast until you reach the point when you perfectly know how to start a diet.

Let me explain what I mean.

Every day we are overwhelmed by so much information.

If you’re like me and a lot of other people in this world – and if your life is similar to mine and theirs -, you are probably surrounded by thousands of stimuli: rivers of news constantly flow over your steps coming mostly from the Internet, TV and radio, and making you sick. Be careful, this can leave you flood-damaged!

It is called information overload.

Your brain is not made to process this whole amount of information. You can surely do it, but it gives you a lot of stress and, in the end, what will be left of the information we didn’t have enough time to give real value to?

And now, let’s talk about time.

Take a minute to think about how much time you spend in contact with the information sources. The fingers of one hand are sadly too less to count the hours! How many goals you could accomplish if you cut those activities out of your life.

And now think that there is one device that, more than the others, is taking possession of your life: yes, you are right if you are thinking about your smartphone.

phone addiction

The following paragraphs will guide you, step by step, to a new way of conceiving your relationship with it.

By approaching the Zen philosophy, you are asked to embrace simplicity in order to make your existence better. And for doing that, all you have to do implies three important steps: taking time to think, noticing how your life can really change and, eventually, planning what and how to edit your life in order to break your bad habits. But don’t be scared and tune out yet, as – I can guess – lots of you are using the smartphone. This can really be a way to handle and solve our issue: smartphone addiction.

Let’s start by saying that it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. You’ll get better over time, and more motivated after seeing the first positive results.

_The First Step

The first step is the most difficult one: to be able to think, you need to take time and for doing it you have to temporary disconnect. That’s what we call the fasting period. Just like a fast, you are supposed to live your life without your smartphone, without checking the e-mails and the messages from your online subscriptions (it sounds unbelievably impossible, but it is not!). It is a kind of medical therapy for the life-worsening condition you are stuck in.

It is undoubtedly hard as you are asked to give up on something that has become part of your daily life.

Start small. Here are my tips for you.

  • If you can’t go without your phone, try using less applications. Uninstall apps you never use, you will be surprised how much junk you can find in your storage. Cut away your messenger app for a day, then add another one to your no-list. Add as many as possible.
  • Try reducing the time you use your phone. Leave it at home when you go out with your kids for a walk or to meet a friend in a restaurant. Keep it inside the drawer during lunch hour to have a talk with a colleague. Allow yourself to touch it only for 3 hours a day, 2 hours a day, 1 hour a day. You’ll be amazed how easy it is. There will be so much real life to distract you.
  • Try a specific time during your day. While in the previous tip you are allowed to use your phone in a total of a fixed time a day, try now to have this fixed time during a specific part of your day. Try using your phone only in the morning before work, after putting the groceries away when you come home after going to the supermarket, or after putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Stick to it.
  • Keep track of your time. You will be shocked when you will see at the end of a day or a week (let’s not talk about a month) how much time you wasted. Track the time you spend with the smartphone in your hands and write it down in a spreadsheet. Trust me, it will be jaw dropping and, somehow, scary.
  • Master-fast. You are now ready for the highest level. You feel well prepared for what is ahead of you: a day without your phone. Not challenging enough anymore? Try a week! Try a month. You go, man!

_The Second Step

It is when you find yourself drastically into another dimension of living that you start thinking and meditating about what has changed. Welcome to the second step! There will be some struggles but, if you stay strong and keep on doing it, you will succeed. Living without your smartphone will allow you to open up yourself to new challenges and new experiences. Try to think what this personally means for you. You can even write everything down.

  • How did my productivity change?
  • Was I able to get more things done?
  • Did I spend more time with my family and friends?
  • Did I have more time for myself and goals I wanted to accomplish since so long?
  • Do I feel less stressed?
  • Did someone else notice a change?
  • How did I fill the time I usually spent with my phone?

Your findings can be shocking, funny and relieving all at once.

phone addiction

We talked about new experiences. Yes, but which kind of new experiences?

There are people around you that you never noticed (maybe this cute girl or boy who just started working in your office), you finally had the time to meet up with an old friend, you got to know new people to go out with, on your way to work you met a group of fans of your favorite football team on the train and went to a match together with them, you found books in your shelf that someone gave to you for Christmas 5 years ago and you found a new favorite author, you discovered your old hobbies again and explored nature more frequently, you finally got to spend more time with your children – and the list goes on and on. You will be able to fully enjoy every moment being in contact with the others and, maybe, your friends will be so inspired by you to start the project their own – and you will be there to encourage them as well to think about the meaning of their lives.

You fill up the time you usually spent with media in a more healthy and personal way. This is great, celebrate your success!

_The Third Step

Now it’s the right time to talk about what and how. Like newspaper editors, you have to learn to edit brutally and cut out everything that’s not necessary: that’s the only way to make the meaningful story come up.

But is it even possible? Yes, it is. Here are some ideas: you have to dive into it, with no fear, and try; this way you will find out what the right method for you really is.

  • Start again. Once your fast is over, re-think your smartphone intake. You may discover that cutting it out in the evening, for example, isn’t as hard as you thought, and that it helps you getting a lot of things done. Instead of allowing yourself to dive right back into your old smartphone habits, use your device more thoughtfully from now on. Shutting off the rivers of information that come at you every day will give you peace of mind. Spending time without your smartphone will help you focusing more and longer.
  • Set specific goals. It is not because we are talking about smartphone addiction, that you can feel free to replace one device with another time-waster, such as computer, tablet or TV. Set a goal that you would like to accomplish in that day, or that week, and work hard on it. Be specific about how you want to spend your time and stick to your schedule, like your learned it during your fasting time. As the days go by, you will surely notice that you can use the time, you would normally spend on media, to accomplish actions that further your goals. Ask yourself which mistakes you made and how your addiction tried to possess you again.
  • Listen to what your body says. As we stated in the beginning, it is not in fasting and refusing blindly the power of smartphones; it is in knowing how to take control (and not letting it take control) and starting a healthy diet, for your body, for your mind and for your relationships. And, while doing it, listen to your body, how it reacts and how it develops. It speaks louder than what you imagine!

The third step will show how you changed inside. At that point you will be able to take decisions and finally change the outside, starting from your habits and your relationships.

We hope this introduction will help. Please feel free to let us know your tips and tricks and give us a review on how this fasting affected you. And if we didn’t manage to convince you, at the end of this post, well at least… give it a try!

 

Would you be ready to give it a try? It would be great to know what you think.

Back to Doha. Amedee Maingard Lounge – Mauritius. Emirates Business Class Lounge – Dubai.

Doha City

Doha City from globalchampionstour.com

It took me a while to write this post … getting used to Doha weather and settling in our new home! YES we have got an accommodation finally and it does take much to turn the house into a home… But how exciting! It has been quite cool in the beautiful city of Doha since I came back, beginning of February and it is only now that the temperature is starting to make a shift upwards. A few weeks of rain and storms went by and now the beautiful blue sky is back again. I have also started driving on the right side of the road. It seemed weird at first and the traffic is still the same but I am getting used to it. Fortunately for me it is not as hard as I had thought. I am also getting used to my BMW 3 Series (sports line, twin turbo), which is great fun to ride (0 to 100 Kms in 5.6 secs) but easily intimated by the numerous Toyota Land Cuisers, Audi Q5, Q7, Land Rovers and other huge vehicles!

Amedee Maingard Lounge, Mauritius: Okayish

The trip back to Doha started with Amedee Maingard Lounge which is intended for Air Mauritius passengers and its partners. It is a relatively new one which has been built with the new passenger terminal. The old lounge was smaller but cosier and warmer. This new one is quite big with two levels. Level 1 is surprisingly deserted; all the activities seem to be happening on Level 2.

Since the lounge is very bright, it will be hard to find a quiet ‘dim’ place if you want to rest/sleep. And, anyway I have not seen any couch or recliners for that purpose.

Food availability and variety seem to depend on days. I have been through the lounge many times before when there was a limited choice of food; luckily this time the variety of food offered was reasonable.

On the plus side: it has a very nice area dedicated to children.

You will find things to do if you have at most one hour to spend in this lounge; however longer than that might become boring.

Emirates Business Class Lounge, Dubai: Massive

Being my first time in Emirates Lounge in Dubai, I must admit I was pretty impressed. It cannot be compared to the business class lounge in Mauritius airport, particularly in terms of size and crowd.

The Emirates lounge was very busy even though it was around 5 in the morning. So many people travel business class? Really? Eventhough the lounge has lots and lots of seating areas available, it was quite hard to find a free table at that time. However if you keep walking till the almost end, you can find some quieter areas.

Emirates lounge also offers a variety of hot and cold food well distributed throughout the lounge through different buffet areas; however there was no porridge offered – a bit unfortunate for my two year old toddler — and not a great choice of food. (Maybe it was because of that time of the day).

If you fancy using your computer, the lounge has 2 business centres with computers, as well as showers, couches, magazine racks and several quiet areas. And, if you fancy a massage, there is also a spa available!

Overall it is a great lounge and I am sure anyone can find plenty to do even if you have hours to kill. The only thing that can still be improved I think is the variety of food offered.

Flying Emirates A380 Business ClassA Great Plane for Technology Savvy Travellers

The trip back to Doha in Emirates A380 was an iota better than when I left Doha for Mauritius. It was a night flight again and the noise in the cabin did not allow us to sleep much. As mentioned in my previous post, the Emirates A380 is a great aircraft. Top technology. Very advanced. The bed lies completely flat and a mattress is also offered if desired which makes it very very comfortable.

However I would recommend business class only for people who can sleep like logs or for those who do not sleep, particularly when it comes to the price of the business class ticket. As for the technology addicts, they will be over the moon.

Given I was unable to sleep, I enjoyed the bar/lounge; there was plenty of finger foods available and your favourite drink served as per your order.

From my view: if you want to sleep and it’s a night flight and you are not fussed then (paradoxically though) economy will do the job. If you intend to make the most of technology (don’t forget you have internet access on the plane!) then Business Class is the way to go. The price difference between economy and business and how you intend to spend your time on board might also help you decide which class to fly.

Have you travelled Emirates A380 Business Class or Economy at night for 6 to 10 hours? How did you find it?

 

 

 

 

 

27 Things Only a New Mum Will Understand

When I heard my cousin complaining about how pregnancy is tough as she cannot lie down properly nor eat the spicy food she wants because of heart burns, I thought to myself “hmmm… and this is just the fun part, the hard work is yet to come’.

The baby doesn’t come with a manual and even if he/she did I believe the longest part of it would be the ‘trouble-shooting’ part! As new mums we don’t have a clue of most things, so when dad or ‘others’ (remember everyone knows better than you how to take care of your baby) ask you why is the baby crying or keep telling you the baby is hungry (even when you just fed for the last 30 minutes!), or (the best one) advise you to ‘sleep while the baby is sleeping’, you really want to pull all your hair out!

New mums, don’t lose hope, you will soon learn all the strings; you are great since you can do everything that you are doing even though you’ve never been trained for it. You will get there. Motherhood is hard but so rewarding and so worth it. So, hang in there! YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!!

The following was written by Julie Lay and I’m sure most new mums will agree as these are things only a new mum will understand.

1. The complete joy of a warm sitz bath.

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2. Being so afraid to poop that you avoid the bathroom at all costs.

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3. Having incredible boobs … that hurt so badly you’ll kill anyone who so much as brushes up against them.

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4. That taking a shower is a luxury, not a necessity.

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5. The isolation of being alone with a tiny, helpless human. All. Day. LONG.

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6. Celebrating your new eau de parfum: slightly spoiled milk, cabbage, and A+D ointment.

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7. The fear that every other mother in the world is doing a better job than you.

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8. What a dairy cow feels like.

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9. Loving your other half for giving you such an amazing gift.

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10.Hating your other half for the way they eat/sleep/breathe.

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11. What it feels like to have no shame about whipping out a boob in public.

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12. The feeling of victory that fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes awards you (no matter how much muffin is left on top).

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13. Using the baby as a legitimate excuse to get out of absolutely anything.

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14. Wearing granny panties that are made out of mesh and come up to your eyeballs.

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15. Why you can no longer do jumping jacks. Ever again.

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16. Watching a horror movie and sympathizing with the zombies. If you can stay awake, that is.

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17. Going so crazy with fatigue you find yourself mindlessly rocking a jug of milk to sleep at the grocery store.

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18. That “mother’s intuition” is real. And it is powerful.

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19. The pure joy that is a first glass of wine after nine LONG months of sobriety.

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20. The joy/embarrassment that are Preparation H pads.

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21. Being so in tune with someone that your body actually produces food for them on demand.

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22. Accidental shoplifting.

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23. Leaking through your shirt during an important presentation at work.

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24. Waking up in a cold sweat, convinced you rolled over on the baby — only to find them sleeping soundly in their crib.

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25. That “sleep when the baby sleeps” is the stupidest phrase anyone has ever uttered.

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26. Being proud of the fact that your stomach looks like it was attacked by a tiger.

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27. The amazing feeling of being the one who created this unique human being.

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My favourite is the last one (#27). I totally agree. What do YOU think?

 

A Great Read from Undigitize.me

A matter of power

 “You’re not the boss of me now! And you’re not so big” sang They Might Be Giants in one of their most famous songs. That’s what we want to say to our technology device. Especially when they rule our day.

Mobile phone addiction

 

Here are the 5 strongest signs that prove you are addicted to your smartphone.

#1 You feel anxious without it

Not knowing where it is, accidentally leaving it at home or even finding your pocket empty while searching with your hand feel you with an uncomfortable sense of dread, that sometimes leads you to panic. If you feel your smartphone a part of you, a tool you can’t live without, then you have an unhealthy dependence on it.

#2 You are antisocial

You are in a pubblic place with friends or your family, but you spend more time playing around with your phone than talking and laughing with them. Maybe you are at the dinner table and you regularly feel the compulsion to check your phone or take a picture of the food. Your family and friends even started complainig about how antisocial your behavior has become.

#3 You struggle to focus

During a face-to-face conversation with someone, it’s hard for you to stay focused and concentrate on what you’re talking about. You lose eye-contact too easily with them zoning out and staring into space; and perhaps you start thinking about checking your Facebook notifications, your e-mails or seeing if someone texted you. Watch out: your smartphone is leaving your mind in a hyperactive and constantly distracted state and, more often than not, you find yourself stretching your arm trying to take your phone without even thinking about it.

#4 Your phone is in charge

You let your smartphone decide on your daily schedule. Usually every day looks the same with you spend hours and hours along with your head buried in your smartphone screen playing games or scrolling your Facebook wall. You start showing up late for your meetings and even dates with your partner. Your slowly becoming an unreliable person causes unpleasant situations.

#5 You feel the need to document everything

Philippe Kahn, the man who created the first mobile phone equipped with a camera, surely was not aware of what would have happened. Nowadays, with every smartphone it is possible to document and keep trace of almost everything that happens around us during our day. Moreover – believe me – no one is going to watch or pay attention to the pictures or videos you took when you were at that concert or another certain kind of event. Don’t look at the reality through a screen and enjoy your surroundings, rather than trying not to let things slip away by using your smartphone. The best memories are the ones you fully lived!

Mobile phone addiction

The smartphone is an incredibile and useful device when used in the right way. But when it ends up making us busier to the point where we lose touch with what is actually important, then we need to make a change. The over- or misuse can be treated following our advises: try out the smartphone fast you can find some posts below and, if you feel like it, send us a picture for our column PHONE FACED DOWN.

Are you addicted to your phone? If so, which steps are you taking to remain the one in charge? 

Addicted to Your Smart Phone? 10 Signs That You Might Be … And Here’s What You Can Do …

Addiction to phone and what's app

My husband always tells me that I’m addicted to my phone because whenever I’m free (which means about 30 mins during the day when my daughter naps or after 8.00/8.30 p.m) I tend to be a lot with my phone. However, I don’t have a Facebook nor a Twitter account and rarely write messages at this time. What I do mostly is read the world news on different websites.

During the day, whenever I get a message I tend to reply straightaway but when I go to bed my phone is always on silent mode, with ‘vibrate off’. It wouldn’t disturb me to switch my phone off completely either. I must however admit that I also find myself at times with my phone and just checking the weather, the time or just not sure why it’s in my hands.

Would you call that addiction? I thought ‘maybe’ … so I took up a few tests (for example the one from Huffington Post) about addiction to phones and fortunately it doesn’t seem like I’m an addict.

Well… NOT YET … And anyway, one may argue how far these tests are reliable. Wouldn’t you? Those on a more ‘advanced’ level could also take up tests on whether they are addicted to Whats App or any other social media.

It’s great to know that there are numerous apps out there ( Break free cell addiction, Usage Monitoring, Non Intrusive Notifications, Phone Management Tools, Usage Statistics) that can help you get out of this ‘addiction’. These apps help you monitor how often you are using your social media or even your phone and help you monitor your ‘free time’ which you could of course use to do something else (e.g. nurturing your relationships, etc.). And anyway there must surely be more important things to do than getting on social media day and night. You’d agree with that one, right?

The first step to overcoming an addiction problem or any problem, is first of all to realise you have one. If you don’t think you’ve got one or you are in complete denial then read no further. But if like me, you think ‘may be’, then try to take a few tests. Maybe it’s not addiction yet and you are simply overusing your phone!

In an interview, Dr. David Greenfield, the director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction says, “The analogy that I use is right before they go to bed, the last thing they do before they pass out is check their phone and the minute they open their eyes, they check their phone. Doesn’t that sound like a smoker? This is what we used to hear with smokers is that the last thing they would do before they go to bed is they’d have their last cigarette.”

Now, does that sound like you?

According to CNN’s Kelly Wallace here are 10 Signs you could look for to determine if you have a problem:

  1. When you check your phone to see the current temperature instead of opening a window, and/or when you check your phone to see the current time instead of looking at the watch that’s right on your wrist.
  2. When you have to consciously say to your spouse “Let’s put our phones away” while watching TV because it’s more common that they’re out than away
  3. If you are answering emails in a dimly lit reception area while waiting for your massage therapist to de-stress you, you may have a problem.
  4. When your kids have to text you their carry-out orders because you’ve lost the ability to retain information that is not received on your phone.
  5. When you hope you hit a bunch of red lights on the way home so you can comment on a Facebook post.
  6. When one of your daughter’s first drawings of you has a BlackBerry in your hand.
  7. When you wake up, you grab your phone and check it before you get up to pee.
  8. When you drop a phone on your face because you’re dozing off.
  9. When you choose your clothing based on the best pockets to hold your phone.
  10. When you are staring at photos you took on your phone while the actual moment is taking place right in front of you.

 

Addiction to phone

digitalsynopsis.com

 

I’ve come through a very interesting article about ‘phone addiction’ by Susan Davis from WebMDFeature which I wanted to share. It’s a great read.

Why Smartphones Hook Us In, Plus Tips On Reclaiming Your Time And Concentration.

I’ll admit it: I check my smartphone compulsively. And the more I use it, the more often the urge to look at it hits me.

In the orthodontist’s office. Walking my kids to school. In meetings. Even while making breakfast. Sometimes it is in my hand before I even know what I’m searching for. Sometimes I tap the screen absent mindedly — looking at my email, a local blogger, my calendar, and Twitter.

I’m not the only one struggling with this very modern compulsion. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center, 46% of all American adults now own a smartphone — up a whopping 25% from 2011.

And smartphone use can get very heavy. In a study of 1,600 managers and professionals, Leslie Perlow, PhD, the Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, found that:

  • 70% said they check their smartphone within an hour of getting up.
  • 56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
  • 48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • 51% check continuously during vacation.
  • 44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

“The amount of time that people are spending with the new technology, the apparent preoccupation, raises the question ‘why?’, says Peter DeLisi, Academic Dean of the Information Technology Leadership Program at Santa Clara University in California. “When you start seeing that people have to text when they’re driving, even though they clearly know that they’re endangering their lives and the lives of others, we really have to ask what is so compelling about this new medium?”

Addicted to phone

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Hook or Habit?

Whether smartphones really “hook” users into dependency remains unclear.

But “we already know that the Internet and certain forms of computer use are addictive,” says David Greenfield, PhD, a West Hartford, Conn., psychologist and author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyber Freaks, and Those Who Love Them.

“And while we’re not seeing actual smartphone addictions now,” Greenfield says, “the potential is certainly there.”

A true addiction entails a growing tolerance to a substance (think drugs or alcohol) so you need more to get “high,” uncomfortable symptoms during withdrawal, and a harmful impact on your life, Greenfield says.

Computer technologies can be addictive, he says, because they’re “psychoactive.” That is, they alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.

Email, in particular, gives us satisfaction due to what psychologists call “variable ratio reinforcement.” That is, we never know when we’ll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. “It’s like slot machines,” Greenfield says. “We’re seeking that pleasurable hit.”

Smartphones, of course, allow us to seek rewards (including videos, Twitter feeds, and news updates, in addition to email) anytime and anywhere. Is such behavior unhealthy?

That really depends on whether it’s disrupting your work or family life, Greenfield says.

Such a disruption could be small — like ignoring your friend over lunch to post a Facebook status about how much you’re enjoying lunch with your friend.

Or it could be big — like tuning out a distressed spouse or colleagues in a meeting to check email, or feeling increasingly stressed by the fact that everyone else seems to be on call 24/7, so we perhaps we should be, too.

Other researchers are seeing clear signs of dysfunction, if not an “addiction.”

According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren’t addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to “checking habits” that develop with phone use — including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections.

That study found that certain environmental triggers — like being bored or listening to a lecture — trigger the habits. And while the average user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day — for about 30 seconds each time, when the information rewards are greater (e.g., having contact info linked to the contact’s whereabouts), users check even more often.

Addicted to phone

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The Interrupted Life

Besides creating a compulsion, smartphones pose other dangers to our mental life, says Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

“The smartphone, through its small size, ease of use, proliferation of free or cheap apps, and constant connectivity, changes our relationship with computers in a way that goes well beyond what we experienced with laptops,” he says. That’s because people keep their smartphones near them “from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, and throughout that time the devices provide an almost continuous stream of messages and alerts as well as easy access to a myriad of compelling information sources.

“By design,” he says, “it’s an environment of almost constant interruptions and distractions. The smartphone, more than any other gadget, steals from us the opportunity to maintain our attention, to engage in contemplation and reflection, or even to be alone with our thoughts.”

Carr, who writes extensively in The Shallows about the way that computer technology in general may be diminishing our ability to concentrate and think deeply, does not have a smartphone.

“One thing my research made clear is that human beings have a deep, primitive desire to know everything that’s going on around them,” he says.

“That instinct probably helped us survive when we were cavemen and cavewomen. I’m sure one of the main reasons people tend to be so compulsive in their use of smartphones is that they can’t stand the idea that there may be a new bit of information out there that they haven’t seen. I know that I’m not strong enough to resist that temptation, so I’ve decided to shun the device altogether.”

Managing Your Smartphone UseAddicted to phone

Can’t give up your phone altogether? Experts suggest these steps to control your usage:

  • Be conscious of the situations and emotions that make you want to check your phone. Is it boredom? Loneliness? Anxiety? Maybe something else would soothe you.
  • Be strong when your phone beeps or rings. You don’t always have to answer it. In fact, you can avoid temptation by turning off the alert signals.
  • Be disciplined about not using your device in certain situations (such as when you’re with children, driving, or in a meeting) or at certain hours ( for instance, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.). “You’ll be surprised and pleased to rediscover the pleasures of being in control of your attention,” Carr says.

One group of business people at The Boston Group, a consulting firm, discovered just that when they participated in an experiment run by Perlow.

As described in her book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone, the group found that taking regular “predictable time off” (PTO) from their PDAs resulted in increased efficiency and collaboration, heightened job satisfaction, and better work-life balance.

Four years after her initial experiment, Perlow reports, 86% of the consulting staff in the firm’s Northeast offices — including Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. — were on teams engaged in similar PTO experiments.

To manage my own smartphone well, more smartly, I weaned myself away from it.

I started by not checking it for 15 minutes at a time, then 30, then 60 (unless I was dealing with an urgent situation).

I decided to avoid using the web browser on the smartphone unless I truly needed information (such as an address or phone number).

And I swore off using social media on it entirely. I also made a firm commitment to not text, email, or surf the web on my smartphone while driving.

The result? The author of the article claims that after a few days of self-discipline, she found she was concentrating better, was more aware of her surroundings and was more relaxed. As I said earlier, I’m not addicted to my phone but I could well be on the way to it if I’m not careful. The most active app on my phone is Whats App. I have decided to switch off my ‘alerts’ for whats app messages and will try to check my phone less often.

Like Susan Davis, would you be able to manage your smartphone use? I am definitely going to try.

 

 

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