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Health Experts Agree with Simon Cowell? For a Happier Life, Turn Off Your Phone


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CBN News anchor Mark Martin and CBN News Tech Lifestyle Expert Caleb Kinchlow discuss America's addiction to social media and smart devices. Click the player above to watch. 

Simon Cowell is one of the top executives in the entertainment industry.  One would think with so many television and music projects in the works in both the US and the UK, he would be constantly on his phone right?

Well, think again.

During a recent interview with the U.K. based The Mail on Sunday newspaper, Cowell said, "I literally have not been on my phone for 10 months. The difference it made was that I became more aware of the people around me and way more focused." 

"It has been so good for my mental health," Cowell told the paper. "It's a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made me happier."

According to research conducted by several research firms, Americans are addicted to their cell phones. 

"We spend on average 5 hours a day, not just on smartphones, but on any smart device," said CBN News Tech Lifestyle Expert Caleb Kinchlow.  

"A lot of people are experiencing anxiety and depression due to their efforts seeking validation through social media. It becomes this cycle.  But spending 5 hours a day on any smart device becomes an addiction," he noted. 

 As CBN News reported in January, even Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple has actively discouraged the overuse of technology products. 

Both Apple and Android will soon be announcing new ways to help their consumers curb their phone addictions. 

Last month, Google revealed its new Android software will have an app dashboard which will show you how much time you spend on your phone.  It will also include a timer, so you can set a limit on how much time you are using the app.

On Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple premiered its new app that helps users keep track of their tech usage. Users will be able to see a report on their app usage. Parents will also be able to set up the app on their children's devices to see how much time they are spending on their electronics. They will be able to track their children's usage on their device.

Kinchlow doesn't believe these digital wellness features built into platforms and products will change they way we use our smart devices.

"Last year, Apple spent $700 million on advertising. From that, they made $50 billion. So even though they are making these digital wellness programs, the truth is that they continually need us to use their products," he explained. 

Health experts are warning that spending too much time on your phone increases stress and anxiety.

"The more people use their phone," Dr. Nancy Cheever, who spearheaded research on the relationship between cellphone use and anxiety at California State University, Dominguez Hills, told ABC News, "the more anxious they are about using their phone."

"If you're constantly connected, you're going to feel anxiety," Cheever said. "And the more people feel anxiety, that can lead to other things like mental health and physical ailments." Her research comes at a time when teens may be on their phones for more than six-and-a-half hours a day, according to the nonprofit Common Sense Media

Nancy Colier, a psychotherapist and author of the book, "The Power of Off," told ABC News that the long-term dangers of this anxiety remain largely unknown.

"My experience in talking to teenagers is if it's 'My heart rate is higher' versus 'I have a social life,' they're going to choose social life," Colier said. "But the way we're living doesn't actually serve our deeper well-being."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of