Are our phones controlling us?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)- It may be time for you to go on a cleanse, a cleanse from spending too much time to on your phone.

Experts say too much screen time can affect our memory. Source: WVLT

For Katie Latimer, her phone is the last thing she sees before she goes to sleep and the first thing she sees when she wakes up. "It's not okay," she said. The newly wed said the constant attention she was giving to her phone needed to stop. "I think it does stress me out... it's a bad habit," said Latimer.

Her story probably sounds familiar. Estimates are that Americans touch their mobile devices more than 2,600 times a day. All the dings, pings and rings may be doing more harm than we realize.

Haley Evans, author of Hung Up ,says there's scientific evidence to back it all up. "It depletes oxygenated glucose which is what we use during the day to do our most basic functions but it also deteriorates our short term memory."

"When I wrote the book and I was doing my initial research, I could sense people were like 'Don't tell me to put my phone down. I love my phone,'" said Evans.

It's that love that has changed our society's expectations. "The phone pings and we jump, regardless of what we are doing and regardless of who we are with and regardless whether the matter is urgent is not," said Evans.

"It got to the point where I was like peck-peck-peck-peck-peck-pinged to death by my phone all day long. No matter what I was doing. I felt like I never got anything done-- there has to be a better way to manage this."

In her book, Evans laid out a seven step plan to unplug. It includes getting a grasp of how much actual time you're spending on your phone. For Latimer, she estimated about 4 hours a day. Evans also said it's important to allow yourself permission to decide when you want to respond.

"I think if we come up with a universal set of guidelines that we all agree to about what is appropriate for a text versus an email versus a call and how and when we're expected to respond, I think we'll all have a ton of piece of mind," said Evans.

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