Smartphone Addiction – A Very Real 21st Century Problem

posted by Chris Valentine

We all know that today’s technology is nothing short of revolutionary. However, few of us really understand just how much it has changed our lives, and how quickly. This is particularly true about the smartphone, a device that almost all of us have. Scientists like Gina Benderson, however, are concerned about this development as well, mainly because the smartphone is literally taking over our lives.

There are positives to having a smartphone, of course. They organize our lives, entertain us, and ensure we have a social life. However, they are now almost companions, meaning we attach near-human emotions to them. Indeed, there is now a real concern about our compulsion of looking at them, being glued to our screen even in social situations. In fact, some people have their sleep interrupted by them, and they become anxious whenever their smartphone is not in their reach. Does this mean we have taken things too far?

The Real but Rare Smartphone Addiction

Anyone with a smartphone will look at it habitually and perhaps even a little too often. However, that does not mean that they are addicted. As humans, we have many things that matter to us on a deep personal level, things we carry with us wherever we go and feel lost without if we can’t reach them. However, that does not equate to an addiction.

Rather, scientists agree, when people use their smartphones excessively, something else is actually bothering them. Thanks to our smartphones, our lives are enhanced. They give us a connection point with other people and the internet, with our jobs and our entertainment. Overall, therefore, they are positive devices. However, some people take this to an excess, and this is when problems start to occur. Luckily, this is rare, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

One of the things that Gina Benderson has worked on, together with psychologist, is to create a list of signs and symptoms that are indicative of an addiction. If at least six of the following statements apply to someone, it can be said that they are addicted:

  1. My smartphone is my most important possession.
  2. I have been in conflict with my family because I spend so much time on my smartphone.
  3. Other important things, such as my job or education, suffer due to my smartphone usage.
  4. I spend more time using my smartphone than doing anything else.
  5. My smartphone helps me to change my mood.
  6. I am increasing the amount of time I spend on my smartphone.
  7. I feel irritable and moody if I can’t use my phone.
  8. I feel urges to use my mobile.
  9. If I cut down on mobile usage, it starts to creep up again over time.
  10. I lie about how much I use my mobile.

Most of us worry a little about how much we use our mobile devices, and most of us feel that at least some of the above statements apply to us. However, that does not mean that you are addicted. Rather, it can help you to become more aware of your personal behaviors.

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