The character of Amy on HBO's 'Veep,' played by actress Anna Chlumsky, is rarely seen without the phone by her side. The character of Amy on HBO's 'Veep,' played by actress Anna Chlumsky, is rarely seen without the phone by her side. The character of Amy on HBO's 'Veep,' played by actress Anna Chlumsky, is rarely seen without the phone by her side. (Photo: HBO)

4 fun ways to kick your smartphone habit (really!)

Looking for a brief respite from the constant buzzing of your iPhone? Look no further.

The Wikipedia entry for "phantom vibration syndrome" explains that it's "the perception that one's mobile phone is vibrating or ringing when it is not ringing." In the past couple of decades, as cell phones have become so ubiquitous, hardly a moment goes by when we're not checking our phones. We all have a constant need to text friends, like a status on Facebook or snap a photo of our lunch.

A recent study out of Ariel University in Israel found a correlation between heavy smartphone use and Internet addiction. As a result, more and more people are going offline.

A few years ago, Tel Aviv tech entrepreneur Lior Frankel launched the Undigitize.Me program to raise awareness of our digital dependence. "I love technology," he told From The Grapevine. "The thing is it just went too far. We have to understand which applications are like junk food and which apps are like nutrition." To that end, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently endorsed a "Device Free Dinner" hashtag campaign, complete with conversation starters for family discussions.

But ditching your smartphone – even temporarily – is no easy task. Below we offer up four fun ways that will get you to turn off (or at least silence) your phone for a little while.

Go to Green Bank, W.Va.

Steerable radio telescope in the mountains of West VirginiaThis telescope in the mountains of West Virginia is the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope. (Photo: Zack Frank/Shutterstock)

Green Bank is one of the few places in America that is officially set aside as a cellphone-free city. This remote Appalachian town is inside the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, where most types of electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum (which includes radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, cell signals and Bluetooth) are banned. The reason? To minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, home to the world’s largest steerable radio telescope. The area is so quiet (from an electromagnetic standpoint) that people who are electrosensitive (i.e. they get headaches around cell signals and microwaves) travel here for relief. Even though you won't hear people yakking on the phone, you might hear something else in Green Bank, West Virginia. Scientists are now using the giant telescope to attempt to communicate with aliens.


Create a piece of art

Papercutting crafts from Naomi Shiek - craft projects help with SmartPhone addictionFriendly creatures like squirrels and elephants are found in this foliage. (Photo: Naomi Shiek/Woodland Papercuts)

Want to keep your fingers busy without constantly tapping on your phone? Try your hand at some craft projects – specifically paper cutouts. All you need to get started is some paper and a pair of scissors. Oh, and pick up a copy of "Fold It and Cut It: Super-Symmetrical Papercut Projects for Artwork, Keepsakes, Greeting Cards, and More." The book is a great beginner's guide and is written by Naomi Shiek, an Israeli papercut artist. Her work has been featured in wedding blogs and she has clients all around the world. Shiek's advice to the newbie? Don't be afraid. "I never would have thought to try papercutting if it weren’t for my teacher Dovrat Ben-Nahum [at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem] who opened my eyes to tactile illustration, who showed me that there are many ways to illustrate successfully, and that it’s OK to be different."


Book a flight

sculpture of a man riding a bicycle plane while talking on a smartphoneThe original proposal to allow cell phones on planes was met with public backlash. (Photo: jsh7905/Pixabay)

Air travel can be stressful, sure, but it can also be relaxing. Having two hours with not much to do provides the perfect time to read the next great novel or watch a good film. It's also an opportune time to put away your phone – especially now that you won't be talking on them anytime soon. Earlier this month, the FCC reversed a 2013 decision that would have allowed cell phones to be used when a plane reached cruising altitude. "I do not believe that moving forward with this plan is in the public interest," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. "Taking it off the table permanently will be a victory for Americans across the country who, like me, value a moment of quiet at 30,000 feet.” Peace and quiet is all relative, though, when you're sitting next to a crying baby or a talkative seat mate. Well, no worries: An Israeli startup is developing a noise-canceling airplane seat, so you can relax in your own quiet bubble.


Build your own camera

DIY pinhole camera kitCapture the romance of vintage-style photography with this DIY pinhole kit. (Photo: UncommonGoods)

Who needs a smartphone to take pictures when you can actually make your own camera? Before cell phones and Instagram, there was the pinhole camera. European astronomer Gemma Frisus de Radio constructed the first one to examine the solar eclipse of 1544. Fast forward more than four centuries, and you can now capture the romance of vintage-style photography with a DIY camera kit from London-based designer Kelly Angood. More than 60,000 people have used the kit since she created it a few years ago. And with a camera that actually works, you'll be able to snap cityscapes and brunch dates. Before you know it, you'll forget your phone can take pictures. You may even forget where you put your phone.

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