People often associate addictions with drugs or alcohol, but can you be addicted to your Smartphone?
The answer may shock you.
Researchers believe it’s possible that the devices we cherish can foster addictive tendencies in people. Our phones are constantly within arm’s length, we sleep beside them, check the screen first thing in the morning, and look to the soft glow for updates and information throughout the day. Dr. David Greenfield, director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, estimates that 90% of Americans have an unhealthy relationship with their Smartphone that borderlines addiction levels.
The Science Of Smartphone Addiction:
Addiction is a very serious issue that often affects an individual’s entire life. In recent years, researchers and experts have acknowledged activities which cause pleasure (shopping, gambling, and sex) can form an addiction. Smartphone use, along with Internet and gaming, falls into this category.
Technology can influence the brain and cause distinct changes that mimic drug addiction. Addiction often requires an increased need for the stimuli, an inability to curb use, and the continuation of use regardless of the impact on a person’s life. Smartphone addiction wires the brain with rewards and pleasure, causing people to seek increased interaction with their device.
Signs You Might Have A Problem:
Like any addiction, it’s a good idea to keep track of warning signs that may signify a problem:
- Do you check your phone first thing in the morning?
- Do you check your phone while you are in bed?
- Is your phone always near you- even during special events?
- Do you feel anxious when you forget your phone?
- Do you crave looking at the screen and checking updates?
- Have you felt phantom vibrations from your phone?
- Do you constantly check for messages or notifications?
- Have your friends or family mentioned they feel you have a problem with your Smartphone?
If you answer “yes” to a majority of the questions, you may have developed a dependency on your phone.
6 Strategies To Weaken The Lure Of Devices:
Putting down your Smartphone can be difficult. We use them to check the Internet, stay up-to-date with your child’s school, keep in touch with friends and family, use online banking, get our news via the Internet, and plenty more apps and activities too numerous to mention.
Realizing you may have a problem is a great first step, but here are six activities or strategies to help you dial back your reliance on your phone:
- Reclaim your home. Keep your devices out of the bedroom and power down during certain hours to promote family bonding and adequate rest.
- Reconnect with your friends in a face-to-face conversation. Meaningful relationships are worth the effort. Take advantage of the time you spend together to really connect.
- Take a break from your device to read a good book or newspaper.
- Find a hobby or passion to focus on.
- Limit Social Media for a predetermined time amount or set aside a time slot just to use your phone.
- Make a conscious decision to be focused on life around you. Stay in the moment, engage with people, focus on driving, and only use your phone when necessary. Cutting back can help a person remove the constant temptation to check updates and emails.
Hanging Up Smartphone Addiction:
Scientists and doctors are still debating if people are truly addicted to their Smartphones. While they may disagree about the technicalities and definitions, they do agree that the fast-paced world of the Internet and Social Media might be the true lure. Smartphones may just be the vehicle we use to get our fix, but they still represent a trending problem in our society.