Over the years, certain technological advances have made life easier. Technology has made every day routines more accessible and convenient. Many of these advances have given us a better quality of life, but are we growing an unhealthy attachment to these devices? Almost all of us possess the source of these addictions. In fact, it rests right in our pockets.
Smartphone dependency is an ever-growing problem in our society today. Whether we are using our phones to mask our emotions, feed our addictions, or purely for entertainment, our attachment to smartphones has become an issue that needs to be addressed.
Study by PewResearch January 2014:
- 90% of American adults have a cell phone.
- 58% of American adults have a smartphone.
- 67% check their phone without noticing a ring or vibration.
- 44% sleep with their phones in fear of missing a call, text, or email.
- 63% of adults use their phone to go online.
- 74% of adults use their smartphone for location services.
- 29% say their phone is “something they cant imagine living without.”
A new psychological issue has risen from our dependency on smartphones called “nomophobia”. This is the fear of being without your cell phone. According to a survey done by Bank of America, nearly 47% of Americans say they could not go a day without their phone. Is this a rational fear or just an illusion as result of our dependency?
One reason this fear might be rational is because of the investment people have put in their smartphones. They are now replacing maps, address books, ipods, and cameras. What all used to be separate items can now be compiled into one device, but what happens when that device fails?
Another side effect of our dependency is separation anxiety. A study done Ericsson ConsumerLab found that people have become so dependent on their smartphones that without it, they “can no longer handle their daily routine.”
Smartphones and drugs have tied each other into an endless cycle of addiction. Morning Side Recovery, a rehab center in California, found that smartphones are making drugs more accessible to addicts. This accessibility leads to phone addiction, which leads to drug addiction, which leads to phone addiction, etc.
Morning Side also found that smartphones are playing a key role in behavioral addictions and are affecting our social skills. Kids are using digital media as a way to avoid social interaction. Also, they found that smartphones are being used to mask emotions, such as depression. When a person bottles up their emotions, they often become worse.
Clinical psychologists also examined some of the effects smartphones have on social interaction. They found that phones are often used to avoid eye contact. People become so consumed in their phones that they completely ignore their surroundings.
I believe that smartphones are causing these issues and we must recognize them. Only by becoming aware of these issues can we take steps towards fixing them.
– Craig Michels