Smartphones Offer Variable Rewards
Schmidt may have a point, but I believe it goes further. Many smartphone users have never experienced the older technology and so, for these users, there are no such roots to old technology. The truth is that we have become so addicted to our phones that we feel compelled to allow these interruptions, even to the point where we no longer even consider them interruptions. Just like an addiction to gambling and the alluring sounds of slot machines, we addictively react to the sounds our smartphone makes. Some have postulated that the theory of variable rewards could explain what makes us addicted to the digital world of Facebook, Twitter and the ringtone from a smartphone.
Nir Eyal has written about this technology addiction on this very blog, with specific attention to the nature of variable rewards. He describes a study by B.F. Skinner in the 1950s that demonstrated the theory of the variable schedule of rewards. Skinner observed that lab mice responded most voraciously to random rewards. When mice pressed a lever, they sometimes got a small treat, other times a large treat, and other times nothing at all. Unlike other mice that received the same treat every time they pressed the lever, the mice that received variable rewards pressed the lever more often and compulsively.
Even While Getting Ready To Sleep You Feel The Need To Check Your Phone
Addicted people want to check their phones all the time, even while they are preparing to go to sleep.
They will then be in their beds and using their phones until they fall asleep, either going through random apps or talking to someone.
Most people would spoil their whole vacation by being on their phones instead of spending quality time there and enjoying the different place that they are at.
There is no point of a vacation if you remain on your phone constantly there as well.
You might as well then just stay at your home and use your phone there, at least that would save you from wasting any money.
What Are The Reasons Of Phone Addiction
Fear of helplessness and isolation from the outside world. As soon as a telephone booth became a thing of the past, smartphones got to be our everyday companions. And if previously the absence of connection with the world was quite natural, today it may lead us to panic: no chance for the emergency call, no connection with relatives and friends, to say nothing of the social media.
Advertising. Adults are still able to face the flood of unnecessary information, while children arent able to eliminate irrelevant stuff. Moreover, even decent advertising in movies and cartoons make children think that lifes impossible without a phone. As for adults, they are manipulated by numerous sales, discounts, fashion trends, etc.
The fear of solitude. The phenomenon of self-sufficiency gradually passes into oblivion. And the modern generation mistakes self-sufficiency for the ability to be alone for a long time surrounded by mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Are there people who could easily manage at least a day without modern means of communication? No more than 10% will survive in that kind of hell. Why? What is wrong with spending a day in a real life without any gadgets? It turns out you receive no messages, no calls, no e-mails, no chats on Skype and Facebook. And you become redundant and feel emptiness as if you were on a desert island.
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What Is Smartphone Addiction
While a smartphone, tablet, or computer can be a hugely productive tool, compulsive use of these devices can interfere with work, school, and relationships. When you spend more time on social media or playing games than you do interacting with real people, or you cant stop yourself from repeatedly checking texts, emails, or appseven when it has negative consequences in your lifeit may be time to reassess your technology use.
Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as nomophobia , is often fueled by an Internet overuse problem or Internet addiction disorder. After all, its rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to.
Smartphone addiction can encompass a variety of impulse-control problems, including:
Information overload. Compulsive web surfing, watching videos, playing games, or checking news feeds can lead to lower productivity at work or school and isolate you for hours at a time. Compulsive use of the Internet and smartphone apps can cause you to neglect other aspects of your life, from real-world relationships to hobbies and social pursuits.
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Documentary About Screen Time Issues
Discussions around this topic have been here for a while but much about the digital dimension remains unknown to quite a lot of us. In many cases parents know much less than their kids do. At the same time both this issue and parenting in general are often somewhat sensitive, private matters for parents , so were not really open to discussing it publically. Screenagers tries to bring more light to the problem of parenting in the age of the smartphone.
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Considering Alternatives To Using Your Cell Phone
A Generation Of Guinea Pigs
Phone addiction isnt listed as a recognized disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard U.S. reference book for mental health diagnoses. However, research shows that obsessively checking your phone could have negative side effects. The more time teens spend in front of screens, the less happy they are, according to a 2018 study by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University. In a 2017 study, Twenge also found that young people who use social media daily are 13 percent more likely to report high levels of depressive symptoms than those who dont use social media daily.
And all of this technology is so new that researchers dont yet know how it might affect the still-developing brains of teens. Says psychologist Edward Spector, We have an entire generation of guinea pigs in an experiment.
Some countries, especially in East Asia, treat internet addiction like an addiction to gambling or drugs. Both China and South Korea view it as a public health threat and have opened hundreds of treatment centers.
And all of this technology is very new. Thats why researchers dont yet know how it might affect the still-developing brains of teens. Says psychologist Edward Spector, We have an entire generation of guinea pigsin an experiment.
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Phone Addiction And Its Effect On Your Life
Phone addiction is real. Today different experts the world over talk about nomophobia which is the irrational but still real fear of being without your smartphone or unable to use it when you want.
According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders phone addiction is very similar to gambling addiction and does need our attention. And if you are addicted to your phone its not just about losing your time but moreover a risk of different physical problems which includes
- The pain and discomfort in the eyes .
- Eye fatigue.
- Neck problems.
- Increased illnesses due to germs on the phone.
- Distraction from everydays life is another harm the addiction to smartphone can cause.
Setting Times To Use The Phone
The problem with working from home is you can look at your phone whenever you want to, even if you dont need to. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Ive found myself checking the news over and over again to see how much the disease is spreading. Most of the time, there is nothing very new to see but I still find myself doing it. Ive had to admit that Ive fallen for what news websites want you to do keep coming back for more. Its so easy to do when something like this pandemic happens. After all, you want to be in the know.
So what Ive had tot do is set times during the day when Ill check for updates on my phone. These are in the morning to check emails, the news and the like and then in the afternoon quickly, and finally the evening. However, Im finding that I use my phone much less in the evening as by then Im sick and tired of looking at it!
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First Find Out If There Are Underlying Worries
Researchers believe that people who compulsively use cell phones may be trying to avoid issues in their lives that feel too difficult or complicated to resolve.
So, one of the first things to consider is whether theres something deeper bothering you. Resolving the underlying issue could be the key to reducing your anxiety.
Knowing whats truly bothering you could help reduce your need to compulsively text, buy, pin, tweet, swipe, or post.
Signs And Symptoms Of Phone Addiction
There is a fine line between healthy and compulsive mobile use. Depending too heavily on a device can lead to a mobile addiction. A scholarly journal published by the National Library of Medicine reports that 6.3% of the overall population is addicted to their smartphone. The pattern of abuse is greatest among those under 30, with an average of 16% of adolescents addicted. Though chronic phone use is prevalent, how can you distinguish between normal phone use and phone addiction?
Below are a few ways to discern if someone has signs and symptoms of a phone addiction:
- Lying about smartphone use.
- Neglect or trouble completing duties at work, school, or home.
- More and more time using a phone.
- Checking peoples profiles repeatedly due to anxiety.
- Accidents or injury due to phone use.
- Working later to complete tasks.
- Weak or non-existent social life.
- Isolation from loved ones.
- A feeling of lack of connection.
- Angry or irritated if phone use is interrupted.
- Getting up at night to check a phone.
- Reaching for the phone the moment they are alone or bored.
- Phantom vibrations .
- Limiting phone use is difficult.
- Craving access to a smartphone or another device.
- Fear of missing out.
It is essential to remember that there is no specific amount of time, frequency, or messages sent that indicates phone addiction. Yet an accumulation of the above warning signs is an indicator of an underlying phone use problem.
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What Causes Smartphone Addiction
People who have psychological and emotional issues such as stress, depression, loneliness and social anxiety can easily get addicted to technology. The experiences that smartphones connect us to social media, games, videos, apps can all give us pleasure. Some theorists suggest that by releasing the chemical dopamine in the brain, mobile phones can have a similar effect to when we drink alcohol or take drugs.
As people have become more reliant on their phones in everyday life, the number of people experiencing mobile phone addiction has naturally increased. More business is conducted over smartphones than ever before, and the growth of social media can mean some people spend an average of 3.5 hours per day on their phones.
A recent global survey also showed that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased mobile phone addiction. The study showed that about 70% of internet users, especially young people, were using their smartphones more as a direct result of lockdown. The more we use our phones, the more likely we are to become addicted to them.
How To Get Free From Phone Addiction
Despite all the advantages of the technology smartphone shouldnt be your only friend and conversation partner in this world. Some simple steps will help you to be less addicted to your smartphone.
Remember, smartphone is not your enemy. It can provide you with a number of great opportunities. But it is good to have a balance in life and remember that it has many other opportunities for us.
How long can you stay phone-free? What helps you to be less addicted to your phone?
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Signs And Symptoms Of Smartphone Addiction
There is no specific amount of time spent on your phone, or the frequency you check for updates, or the number of messages you send or receive that indicates an addiction or overuse problem.
Spending a lot of time connected to your phone only becomes a problem when it absorbs so much of your time it causes you to neglect your face-to-face relationships, your work, school, hobbies, or other important things in your life. If you find yourself ignoring friends over lunch to read Facebook updates or compulsively checking your phone in while driving or during school lectures, then its time to reassess your smartphone use and strike a healthier balance in your life.
How Can Phone Addiction Be Stopped
While phone addiction research findings vary, including research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics , the biggest challenge of smartphone addiction is controlling use.
Its about actually being aware of when its too much, says Dr. Kristy Fusilier, and some kids can manage and some cant.
On its site, AAP provides a free Family Media Plan that can be tailored to individuals plus, there is a Media Time Calculator, an interactive tool that keeps track of how much time each child is spending on daily activities.
For children, there really should be no free access, said Dr. Fusilier. Children should be monitored to make sure they are not looking at and exposed to things that are not age-appropriate, such as scary images, pornography, predators. And college students and young adults can get counseling and set limits to curb unhealthy time spent on smartphones.
She offers that decreasing smartphone time is akin to kicking other controlling habits and addictions.
Someone addicted to a smartphone may not have to go to a rehab facility but they can set limits, journal, establish goals, and spend more time doing activities such as exercising at a gym, visiting with a friend, taking a walk, reading a book … They might start small and then scale back. For some people, it works for them to quit cold turkey, she says.
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Its Not Yet Clear How Phone Use Affects Teens Developing Brains
In China an estimated 24 million people ages 6 to 29 are internet addicts. The countrys treatment centers have earned the nickname boot camps because teenagers at the facilities wear camouflage uniforms and have to perform military-style drills. The boot camps, which mostly cut teens off from internet access entirely, have drawn sharp criticism for what many see as overly harsh treatment.
Some less extreme treatment facilities have popped up in the U.S. One is reSTART, a retreat center in Fall City, Washington, for teens and adults who obsessively use technology. Patients detox from technology while working with counselors to discover the root issues behind their tech dependencies.
The centers CEO, Cosette Rae, says many of the patients there have dropped out of school because theyre so hooked on video games or the internet. Some are even malnourished because they cant pull themselves away from their screens.
The past couple years, were getting more and more kids that want to come in, says Rae. Theyre saying, Hey, Ive tried to quit, Ive tried to manage my use, Ive tried to use in healthy ways and I cant. I cant control it at all.
Some less extreme treatment facilities have popped up in the U.S. One is reSTART, a retreat center in Fall City, Washington. The facility treats teens and adults who obsessively use technology. Patients detox from technology while working with counselors to discover the root issues behind their tech dependencies.
Tips For Cutting Back On Phone Use
If you can see that your phone use is getting out of hand, then a few things can be done to break the bad habits:
- Set Specific Goals: Be clear regarding how much time you want to spend on the phone and how it will be used. For example, you might limit yourself to 30 minutes per day of social media scrolling, and keep the phone in the other room during meals.
- Use Apps to Monitor Screen Time: Apps like Digital Well and Screen Time can show a breakdown of how you are using the device. You can also set time limits that will notify you when the limit has been reached.
- Turn Off Push Notifications: Every time a message alert comes through, it triggers the dopamine response in the brain. Turn off these notifications and set predetermined times when you will check your phone. For example, only look at your email three times per day.
- Delete Apps: If you have apps that arent being used or are too tempting, try deleting them from your phone for a while. This is an excellent strategy if you want to take a 7-day social media fast or break from games.
- Find an Accountability Partner: Talk to a friend about your goals and ask them to hold you accountable. If needed, set up a reward/consequence system, so you are motivated to stick to your plan.
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