Keeping off silent mode on iPhone could be healthier for you

Changing one thing on your iPhone settings could eradicate stress, experts have found.

Many people have their phone on silent or “Do Not Disturb” mode in the aim of removing any distraction.

But this may actually be counterproductive and cause more stress, a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior has shown.

Instead, people should switch their phone onto loud, and use their phone as and when it notifies them, it’s suggested.

For the research, experts collected data on 138 iPhone users.

Some 42 percent of them had their phones on vibrate, eight percent had their phones on silent, while the rest had their phone on loud, HealthDay reported.

Participants completed a survey to see if they had the “fear of missing out” (FOMO).

FOMO is the worried on-edge feeling people have that they are missing out on things other people are doing, and can be exacerbated by scrolling on social media. 

The Screen Time tool on participant’s phones was used to assess how much time they spent on their phone.

Participants who had their phones in silent mode had the tendency to pick up their phones to check for messages more often than those who did not.

Experts recommend not using silent mode on the iPhone.
NY Post

They spent the most time on social media, too.

People who scored high on FOMO and NtB (need to belong) in the quiz were the worst for constantly picking up and scrolling on their phone when it was on silent mode, the researchers said.

Silencing the notifications appears to be more “psychologically distressing” for these participants, findings suggest. 

The researchers wrote: “Our findings offer new insights into understanding the relationship between notifications and mobile phone usage.

“[It shows] especially how the sound and vibration cues of notifications assuage users’ uncertainty and fulfill their informational, social and environmental surveillance gratifications.”

The researchers recommend that those with high FOMO don’t have their phone on Do Not Disturb. 

It goes against advice that’s come before — that to stop using your phone so much, you should silence notifications.

But if you’re in dozens of Whatsapp groups and the idea of it constantly pinging is too much, try customizing notifications so you only receive them from closest friends and family.

Teenage boy (16-17) lying on bed and text messaging.
Researchers argue iPhones users who have “fears of missing out” (FOMO) often scroll on their phones the most.
Alamy Stock Photo

It can also be helpful to set aside time that you’ll spend on your phone to catch up with what you missed.

This way, you can keep a clear head in the times you are offline and focus on the “here and now” – something often advised for those who struggle with FOMO.

Thea Gallagher, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City, who was not involved in the study, said: “The data is pointing to something different if you have FOMO.

“You will actually be compulsively checking your phone even more because you think you are missing notifications.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

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