Many of us will remember the days when a mobile phone was used simply to make calls, and the revolution of SMS messaging. However these days, thanks to Apple, Samsung, Nokia and Sony (to name a few) most of us are stuck without our phones. We can read the news, get the weather forecast, keep updated with our friends wherever they are on the planet and play a multitude of addictive games. However, at what point does a smartphone begin to take over and move away from a helpful device to a destructive internet addiction?
This is a problem being witnessed most drastically in young people, but one that has the ability to cause stress for all of us. A 2011 survey asked young people to stop using their smartphone for a period of time. The results showed that after 24 hours the majority of participants reported experiencing physical and emotional distress. This is no joke, and below are some signs to answer the question, am I addicted to my smartphone?
Anxiety when unable to respond immediately
If the knowledge that a text message or Facebook notification has not been responded to immediately causes anxiety, chances are an addiction is present. It is unlikely that there is anything that cannot wait, but sweaty palms and a racing heart may suggest the person could benefit from taking a step back. Setting a boundary and not taking your phone to bed can be a step in the right direction to ensure that at least a portion of your day is smartphone-free and dedicated to relaxing.
Ever thought that your phone was vibrating only to find that it was not? This is more common than you may think! When surveyed, 89% of respondents reported that they had experienced this. It demonstrates that your mind is on your phone even when there is no physical prompt.
Fear of missing out
This is a phobia triggered by using social networking to constantly see what everyone else is doing. It stems from a fear that others will be engaged with an activity that the person also wants to engage in, or a concern about being left out. From a practical point of view, it is impossible to be included in everyone’s plans and so it is healthy to accept that missing out on some things for the benefit of others is ok.
Rather be playing Candy Crush than talking to your partner? Yep, that’s another sign of smartphone addiction. Having your attention diverted from real-life contact because of something taking place on your smartphone is another sign of smartphone addiction (and it is important to remember that all of us are likely to experience some of these signs to a certain extent, but when they are all present in an extreme way it may be time to take action). Sometimes it is unavoidable that an important phone call needs to interrupt things, but attempting to have a smartphone-free mealtime will ensure your family are the focus of your attention.
If you still can’t decide: am I addicted to my smartphone? Make use of that phone. Give us a call and we will be happy to talk it through with you.