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Our View: Can you curb your cell use?

Americans have a love affair with their cell phones.

New data shows people are spending more time on their cell phones than with their significant others, a sign that technology is becoming more and more engrained in our daily lives.

A study by Reviews.org found that 32.7 percent of respondents said they spend more time on their cell phone than with their significant other. Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) said they would rather go a year without sex than a year without their cell phones.

The data comes from an anonymous survey of 500 men and women over age 18 regarding their sentiments about cell phone use, their personal cell phone use and how highly they value time spent on their phones.

Some other key data from the study included:

— 65.7 percent of respondents sleep with their phone at night.

— 79.5 percent use their phone as an alarm clock.

— 17.3 percent of parents said they spend more time on their phones than with their children.

— 87.8 percent feel uneasy leaving their phone at home.

— 55.4 percent use or look at their phone while driving.

— 75.4 percent consider themselves addicted to their phones.

— 65.6 percent check their phones up to 160 times per day.

— 57.4 percent say they use their phone on dates.

— 64.2 percent have texted someone in the same room as them.

— 60.6 percent have upgraded their phone in the last year.

— 7.4 percent said they “always” use or look at their phone while driving.

— 48 percent said they “sometimes” use or look at their phone while driving.

— 35.2 percent said they “never” use or look at their phone while driving.

— 9.4 percent said they “don’t drive.”

— 24.6 percent said they consider themselves “not at all” addicted to their phone.

— 56.4 percent said they consider themselves “somewhat” addicted to their phone.

— 19 percent said they consider themselves “very” addicted to their phone.

This data shows that people value their cell phones, and that’s not always a bad thing.

Modern technology allows us to stay connected with others in a way we weren’t in the past. We can remain connected with long lost relatives and old friends from school days gone by.

We have access to news, work, emails and just about any information we desire at our fingertips 24/7.

But are we trading those technological connections for in-person relationships? It seems that way.

Cell phone addictions are also placing us in dangerous situations, where people are using phones while driving and causing deadly accidents.

Cell phone use has also been linked to disrupting sleep patterns, causing headaches, depression, shortness of tempo and decreased attention span.

Cell phone use has even been linked to some cases of brain cancer from the radio waves produced by cellular devices.

According to an article on Psychology Today, 40 percent of Americans suffer from this addiction. Many more — 58 percent of men and 47 percent of women — suffer from something call nomophobia, or the fear of being without a smartphone.

What are some ways we can re-evaluate our cell phone use and even limit it?

— Don’t use your phone in bed. The blue light from cell phone screens disrupts sleep hormone production and reduces productive sleep patterns. Make your bed a phone-free zone, especially during the hour prior to falling asleep.

— Make certain times of the day “phone-free time.” A great time to go phone-free is during meals. Challenge yourself to go without your phone for at least a hour at a time during breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will allow you to disconnect from the phone and reconnect with those you’re sharing a meal with. If you’re eating alone, you can relax a little from the pressures of work, social media or the negative news you are consuming all day.

— Turn off notifications. If you really want to disconnect, consider turning off notifications. The constant beeping and buzzing of your cell phone brings you back to it all throughout the day. Without the notifications, you cane more intentional about the time and place in which you check your phone.

— Delete certain apps. Are there are apps you get lost in and spend too many hours using? Consider deleting those apps if even for a short time to refocus on what’s going on around you.

— Focus on in-person interactions. If you’re on a date, spending time with family, meeting up with friends, in a work meeting, whatever the case, focus on the people around you. Your relationships will be strengthened by it.

— Put your phone on “airplane mode.” If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to avoid using your phone, put it on airplane mode or even ask someone else to hold it for you so you can disconnect for a short time.

It’s hard to imagine life without cell phones, and we don’t have to. They no doubt have their tremendous benefits in our lives.

The key is balance.

You can take back control of your life and your personal relationships by making some intentional decisions about your cell phone use.

Then, you can have the best of both worlds.

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board comprises publisher Michael Caldwell and Bluegrass Newsmedia editors Whitney Leggett and Ben Kleppinger. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.