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Screen dependency: are you a slave to your screen?

Thursday, 04 April 2019
a woman with her phone Screen dependency https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/unhappy-young-woman-holding-smartphone-evening-cityscape_2825678.htm

Screen dependency: Does your real life revolve around your online life? Check if you have the balance right in our intermediate reading comprehension exercise with questions and answers.

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Graded Reading - Intermediate

Addicted to your phone? Take the test to see if you need to address your screen dependency issues?

Do you ...

1. Only buy clothing with a pocket big enough for your phone?

2. Feel an ice-cold finger of fear run down your back when you think you have left your phone behind somewhere?

3. Prefer sitting in a corner catching up on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat than having a real conversation with people who are actually in the room?

4. Find you are so busy taking stunning photos for social media that you miss enjoying beautiful moments for yourself?

5. Promise to spend less time on your phone, only to realise you have actually increased your screen time by playing on the Xbox, watching a lot of television, working on your laptop or going to the cinema instead?

6. Choose a café by the strength of the wifi connection and not the quality of the coffee?

7. Get out your phone six times during a conversation to show a picture, check your diary or use Google to prove a fact or settle an argument?

8. Hold a conversation with a colleague or friend without lifting your eyes from your screen or actually making eye contact?

9. Find that past memories on social media start to seem more attractive than what is happening today?

10. Feel lonely when your phone battery is flat?


How many times did you answer 'Yes'?

1 - 2 You are either resisting temptation and showing strength of character or are a little technophobic!

3 - 5 Take care - keep your phone/life balance in check!
6 + Danger! You may miss out on the thrill of actual participation and the fun of fully sharing experiences with your close friends and family!


Could you be swept along by the current trend of spending ever-increasing amounts of time glued to your phone? Experts say that the average adult now spends up to 9.5 hours per day alternating between various media across all channels. Of these media, the biggest increase is seen on mobile devices, with UK adults spending an average of 2 hours 24 minutes per day on smart devices. In fact, there has been almost a 400% increase in usage time over the last four years. And this trend looks set to continue.

How can we change that? Is it time for a digital detox or at least some 'periodic digital unplugging time' (switching off your phone at selected times)? Here are a few simple tips to begin reversing the trend and protecting your relationships, your productivity, your activity levels and perhaps even your mental health.

Firstly, prioritise your sleep. Buy an alarm clock to wake you in the morning and ban the phone from the bedroom. Research shows our phones are currently the first and last thing we see each day, with 65% of UK adults under 35 looking at their phone within five minutes of waking up, and 60% of us checking our phones five minutes before bed.

Secondly, make good use of the apps available to track your screen time and set sensible limits and reminders. Tools like Apple's Screen Time app and Google and Facebook's dashboards will help you to take back control.

Thirdly, plan your day so you are completely screen-free for at least some specified periods of the day. For example, don't take technology into the bathroom, ensure you have a lunch break away from screens and turn off your mobile at dinner time.

Fourthly, if you are finding it a temptation to reach for your phone during leisure time, build in periods of exercise to help occupy your mind. Try to resist using fitness trackers to gauge your performance and learn to listen to your body instead.

Lastly, enlist the support of your family or friends. You can motivate each other and it will be easier to stick to your goals. You can also avoid 'phubbing' (ignoring your partner for your phone) and perhaps improve your relationships!


Time to Log Off: UK adults spend nearly half their day on screens. Available from: https://www.itstimetologoff.com/2018/08/13/the-dangers-of-technology-addiction/ [Accessed 23/03/2019]

Eastbourne College: Screen Dependency Talks. Available from: https://www.eastbourne-college.co.uk/screen-dependency-talks/ [Accessed 23/03/2019]

Healthy Holistic Living: Screen Dependency Disorder: The Effects of 'Screen Time' Addiction. Available from: https://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/screen-dependency-disorder-screen-time/ [Accessed 23/03/2019]

The Body Coach: How to Do a Digital Detox - and Why You Should. Available from: https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/how-to-do-a-digital-detox---and-why-you-should-1210.html [Accessed 23/03/2019)


Screen dependency: comprehension questions

 1. What does the article suggest you may feel if you accidentally leave your phone somewhere?
2. How much time does the average adult spend looking at screens during the course of one day?
3. What was the percentage increase in daily mobile use over the last four years.
4. Explain how buying an alarm clock will help you to prioritise your sleep.
5. What does the term 'phubbing' mean?

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published in Graded Reading 2019
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Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2019 20:27

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