Guest Blog By: Amy Williams
Many people envision the stereotypical substance abuse, gambling, or obsessive compulsive disorders. People tend to pigeonhole dependencies into extreme categories and often overlook the very real addiction that can be caused by Smartphones.
The Signs of Smartphone Addiction
In this day and age, it is hard not to rely on technology and all the conveniences it offers. Smartphones have simplified our lives, but they have nurtured our dependency on vibrations, soft glows, and instant messages. There is even a name describing this phenomena, nomophobia.
This raises the question, “Is it possible to be addicted to a Smartphone?”
The answer is yes. Smartphone addictions fall under the category of behavioral addictions. You can find gambling, eating, shopping, and many more compulsive addictions in this category. The American Society of Addiction Medicine notes that behavioral addictions can produce similar feelings to drug addictions. These emotions can take on the role of producing highs, tolerance, and withdrawal.
If you feel that you know someone or that you might be suffering from a Smartphone addiction, here are a few questions to answer:
- Do they find it hard to go a few minutes without looking at their phone?
Have they have perfected hiding their phone under tables and in their pockets to sneak in a text?
- Do they seem anxious or overwhelmed with worry when they aren’t near their Smartphone?
- Will they grab for their phone the minute they wake up and it’s the last thing they see before falling asleep?
Smartphone addiction affects many people from all across the globe. Over 1.8 billion people own Smartphones and one study found the average owner checks their screen 150 times a day. Considering those numbers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when 44% of people admit feeling anxious when they can’t access their phone.
Hanging Up: Smartphone Interventions
Thankfully, we aren’t left to our own devises as we jones for one more peek at Social Media, just a little more data, or a frantic search to hijack a wi-fi signal. Scientists have been compiling data and formulating some suggestions to help modern families avoid the pitfalls of Smartphone addiction.
Listed below are a few techniques to help lessen the lure of a phone:
Set aside time once a day that they can just use their Smartphone. Browse Social Media, message friends, or snap a few photos. Limiting interactions to this special hour allows addicts to reclaim the rest of her day for other activities.
Create “no phone zones”. Designate certain areas of the house (bedrooms, bathrooms, and the dinner table) off limits to technology and phones.
Avoid using phones before bed or storing your phone by the bed. The light interrupts the natural rhythms of sleep and ringtones can interfere with a good night’s rest.
Dialing Back Control
A lot of people might make an offhand comment about someone, usually teens or young adults, being addicted to their Smartphones. These phrases and remarks might be laughed at or stated for a sense of amusement. However, addiction can be a very scary term and is not something to be joked about.
Our phones reward us with information at the tap of a finger and allow us to communicate on a grand scale. However, by dialing back on Smartphone usage, people can reclaim valuable freedom and personal interactions. By acknowledging the real threat of addiction, it is possible to avoid the consequences of overusing your phone.