Statistically speaking, there’s a 51% chance that you’re currently looking at this article on your smartphone. There’s also a 90% probability that you’re reading this while sitting on the toilet, and that’s not a good thing for either of us. According to experts, 40% of the population suffers from Nomophobia – the fear of being without your phone. Smartphone addiction is a very real thing and it’s gotten so bad that children as young as 13 are being treated for their addiction at smartphone rehab clinics like the Restart Life Centre near Seattle, Washington. Yes, you just read that sentence correctly. We now live in a world that contains smartphone rehab centers. Want to put your phone down yet? Before you do, take a look at our list of five ways your smartphone addiction is affecting your brain and then put your phone down for at least an hour. Okay fine, fifteen minutes.
#5 Increased Stress
If you’re constantly checking your phone, it means you’re addicted to it which is understandable because they’re amazing. The bad news is that constantly checking your phone makes your mind and body consistently feel like it’s under a lot of stress. Not only does smartphone addiction strain your eye muscles, but it also makes your energy level deteriorate.
People who are addicted to their phones often have trouble unplugging from work and social networking. If you’re one of those people who likes to look at their phone in bed at night and keep it close to your pillow (like me, for example), you’re not allowing your mind and body to rest which can lead to bouts of insomnia. And no, Netflix is not a proper alternative activity in case you were wondering. Any over-use of technology can lead to less productivity, difficulty concentrating, and lower brain activity.
#3 Retardation of Social Skills
While smartphones were intended to connect us even more, phone addiction can lead to relationship problems and loss of friendships. Excessive smartphone use may also cause workplace issues, according to a new study which also concluded that women are especially susceptible to addiction.
“Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering,” said Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor 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,” said Vaghefi. “This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom,” he said. Remember when people used to call each other and actually talk on the phone? Yeah, me neither.
It’s pretty hard to argue that most people prefer virtual communication instead of face-to-face interactions nowadays. A lack of human contact has always been one of the leading causes of depression, but smartphone addicts compound the problem because they feel strong withdrawal symptoms when they cannot have their phones which can lead to severe depression. Sadly, a lot of depression is caused when people are anxiously waiting for a text-message or a call but do not receive one.
#1 ‘Less Intelligent’ Children
That’s right, kids… your parent’s smartphone addiction could be making you all like dumber and stuff. According to new research, children’s attention spans are being damaged by the amount of time their parents spend on smartphones. A recent study found that kids with smartphone addicted parents tend to be less intelligent than kids who grow up in families less addicted to modern technology. Psychologist Professor Chen Yu, of the University of Indiana who conducted the study, said: “The ability of children to sustain attention is known as a strong indicator for later success in areas such as language acquisition, problem solving and other key cognitive development milestones. “Caregivers who appear distracted or whose eyes wander a lot while their children play appear to negatively impact infants’ burgeoning attention spans during a key stage of development.”