Internet Enabled Consumer Devices

Is Your Smartphone Addiction Causing Problems In Your Life?

13 April 2017

Smartphones. Image credit: WikiCommons Maurizio PesceSmartphones. Image credit: WikiCommons Maurizio Pesce

Smartphone addiction is real, according to Isaac Vaghefi, a professor at Binghamton University. According to his findings, excessive smartphone use can lead to cell phone addiction, and women are especially susceptible.

Vaghefi and his team surveyed 182 college students and asked them to report their daily smartphone usage. The team put the participants in five categories: thoughtful, regular, highly engaged, fanatic and addict. Seven percent identified as addicts and 12 percent identified as fanatics. The users in both groups experienced personal, social and workplace problems due to their need to be on their smartphones. In general, these users also showed signs that could indicate depression, social isolation, social anxiety, shyness, impulsivity and low self-esteem. Females were the most likely to have a smartphone addiction.

"Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering," said Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor of management information systems at Binghamton University-State University of New York. "Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom."

Technology addiction is an umbrella term that refers to addicted behavior related to social media, excessive texting, information overload, online shopping, gambling, video gaming, online pornography and overall smartphone usage.

“I predict technology addiction will increase as technology continues to advance and application, game and gadget developers find new ways to ensure users' long-term engagement with technology," said Vaghefi.

Vaghefi created a list of warning signs of smartphone addiction and advises that if you see any of the following in yourself or a friend, to seek professional help:

· Using technology as a way of escaping problems or relieving feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.

· Ignoring what's happening in real time in favor of what's happening virtually.

· Constantly checking your smartphone, even when it doesn't ring or vibrate.

· Paranoia when you do not have your smartphone with you.

Vaghefi’s paper, “A typology of user liability to IT addiction” was published in Information Systems Journal.

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