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Battery Anxiety: Are Your Emotions Tied to Your Charge?

It's the accessory as predictable as luggage when most of us catch a flight. Whether its glued to our ear, or or pounded on by our fingers, the average American checks their phone 80 times a day.

Myjorca Johnson, who we spoke to while she was waiting for her flight to San Antonio, estimates she spends about six hours a day on her phone.

Joe Vita said," I don't like my battery percentage to go below 80 percent. I start getting nervous ... I keep it really high."

That fear of dwindling power has led to 15 research papers by leading psychologists in the past three years. What they've surmised, is that we all have a *reason* why we are constantly on our phones.

Some said it's for social media, others for directions, but most people said it's so they can stay connected to either family or work.

Psychologist Dr. Katherine Pang said there's also a reason in our *own* hard-wiring why cell phones are so addictive.

"We are created to be in community, we're created to be connected, were created to be attached, and that's been perpetuated a lot by technology," Pang said, adding that she's seen phone addiction in patients as young as 6 years old.

Research shows the anxiety of being disconnected affects adolescents the hardest.

"The need for validation and affirmation is so high, particularly in today's culture, that if someone doesn't respond to someone's text in nano seconds they are immediately internalizing or catastrophize-ing. 'Am I on the outs? Does somebody not care?' It's creating huge pressures," Pang said.

The term nomophobia, or no-mobile phone-phobia, was added to the dictionary in 2016. How do you know if you have it? Ask yourself what's your anxiety level on a scale of 1-10 if someone took your phone away for 24 hours?

The travelers we asked said anything from, " I would say probably like a seven," to "probably a four."  We also heard, "it spikes up to seven or eight right there. I don't think I could go that long without it."

As more of our business is done on a phone, and more of our entertainment is provided by them, researchers fear our addiction will only grow.

Where there is a phone there must be a charge, regardless of how you find it. Myjorca Johnson admits, "a bathroom ... yeah for like 10 minutes ... just to get 5 percent. I was like, 'if i could just get to the 5 percent I'll be OK.'"

Including taps, swipes, clicks and typing, the average American touches their smartphone 2,617 times a day! We are all creatures of habit, so the actual checking in and swiping becomes part of our daily routine like brushing our teeth before bed.


Tips: Saving Mobile Phone Battery Life


Looking for ways to extend the battery life of your mobile phone? There are a few easy things you can in your device's settings to squeeze more time out of your battery. (Updated May 14, 2018)


  • Adjust brightness -- the brighter the screen, the more power it consumes. Turning this down can have a dramatic impact on your battery life.
  • Stop/reduce background motion -- this is the parallax effect that lets App icons move over the background image when the phoen is turned. It's a cosmetic thing that, unless you just like the effect, you can do without to save battery life.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi -- though this is harder on newer versions of iOS, disabling Wi-Fi tells your phone to not actively be searching for hotspots to join. If it's not looking for networks, it's using less power.  The same goes for being a personal hotspot -- if you're not hosting another device, turn it off.
  • Turn off Location Services -- Unless you're using it for directions, you may want to disable the built-in GPS. To constantly know where you are, your phone must constantly be sending and receiving data. Disabling that can save some battery life.
  • Turn off Bluetooth -- Bluetooth doesn't consume a lot of power, but if you're down to your final few percentage points -- it may help to temporarily disable this feature.
  • Widget overload -- If you're an Android user, widgets spread across multiple home screens can really tax your battery as they continually sync and update.
  • Disable auto-sync, mail fetch and automatic downloads - These Android and iOS services sync your data and bring in the latest versions of apps in the background. Yes, they're helpful, but they also tax your battery as they consistently ping servers for new information. Data in, data out is a drain on the battery.
  • Shut down battery drainers -- If you go to Settings/Battery in the iPhone, you'll be shown a list of Apps that have consumed most of your battery life over the last 24 hours or 7 days.
  • Use Low Power mode -- Also in Settings/Battery, enable Low Power Mode to temporarily reduce power consumption by automatically turning off or reducing the frequency of mail fetch, Hey Siri, background app refresh, automatic downloads and other visual effects.
  • Battery health -- Batteries, like most consumable components, become less effective with age.  In iOS, you can also see your battery's maximum capacity relative to when it was new by going to Settings/Battery/Battery Health
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