Are Smartphones the Big New Addiction?

Just about everyone has a smart phone these days, and those devices are always in constant reach. So as these devices become more and more powerful, are Americans slowly growing addicted to them?

According to a recent report from The Washington Post, it’s tough to diagnose an addiction to these devices when you consider how often these devices are used and how one device has taken the place of so many others. Think about it — smartphones are now phones, web browsers, shopping portals, calculators, game systems, cameras and so much more.

While the use of cell phones doesn’t cause chemical addiction in the same way that drugs, alcohol or cigarettes do, some experts compare cell phone use to gambling or video games in that they can still cause behavioral addictions. So while you don’t necessarily get a high or a buzz from constant use of a smart phone like you do from certain drugs, there is still the chance of losing control over the amount of time you spend on your phone. After all, a primary characteristic of addiction is fractured relationships, as well as poor work performance.

In the end, it’s important to remember that addiction isn’t just something that you do a lot. For a person to be truly addicted to a smartphone, there has to be a loss of control involved.

Do you see that addiction manifesting itself in anyone you know, or even yourself?

Good questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you take your phone with you and look at it at a restaurant?
  • Is it sitting on your night stand at night?
  • Do you take it on vacation?  Do you check work or personal emails while on vacation?
  • Do you pay more attention to your phone than your loved ones…spouse, children, etc?
  • Do you spend more time looking at your phone than when you’re watching your favorite tv show?
  • Do you look at it while driving?
  • Do you look at it while walking around the office or just walking down the street?

If you’ve answered the majority of the questions with a ‘yes’…maybe it’s time to take control of the device and turn it off…or put it away for a while.

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