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Digital intervention: how to help your friends beat their phone addiction

Imagine a world where no-one talked to each other and spent their days giggling at a small screen instead.

Well, you don’t have to: it already exists. Everyone is addicted to smartphones, whether they realise it or not. Most of us spend more time gawping at Instagram selfies than we do gawping at the world around us, and it could be ruining our relationships.

The good news is that it’s not too late to break the smartphone spell. If you know a smartphone addict – be it a friend, family member, – follow the steps in this guide to stage your own digital intervention.

Stare at the ground smiling while they talk to you

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to talk to someone while they have their head buried in their phone. Give them the same treatment back and see how they like it (spoiler: they won’t).


Make a buzzing noise at them every time you want their attention

They accept it from their phone, don’t they? They’ll soon realise how weird it is that they check their phone every time they get a notification and stop (although they might shout at you and call you names before that).

Refuse to contact them on their phone unless it’s a call (and get your friends to do the same)

They won’t be able to talk to you virtually, forcing them to either phone you or actually pay you a visit in the flesh.

Text them every day reminding them how much of an addict they are

If you can’t talk to them face-to-face, communicate on their level: send them a text reminding them how much of a problem they have every day. Add an ‘x’ at the end to make it seem less aggressive (or two, depending on how angry your text sounds without kisses).

Invent an anti-smartphone game while you’re out

If you’re out for dinner or chalking up a tab at the pub, CNN suggests putting all of your phones in the middle of the table and making the person who checks their phone first pay for the entire bill.

This tactic works on nights out too; anyone who checks their phone has to carry out a forfeit. Trust us when we say 5 minutes on Facebook isn’t worth running naked through a city centre for…

Keep them busy

Distract them from their phone by organising more fun stuff to do. The less sitting around involved, the better!

Walk away

If your friend can’t stop checking their phone in your presence, just walk away. They’ll realise how much it annoys you and, if they value your friendship, they’ll pack it in!


Go nuclear

If all else fails, grab their phone and launch into the nearest body of water. You’ll probably ruin your friendship, but at least you won’t have to deal with that constant buzzing anymore!

Alternatively, do this:


Have you got any tips for helping a phone addict friend? Share them with us in the comments.

And if you think your own smartphone problem is getting out of hand, sell your phone with musicMagpie.

All GIFs courtesy of ReactionGifs.com!