Is smartphone addiction a real disorder? It is definitely a disorder according to Wikipedia: “Mobile phone overuse (or problem mobile phone use) is a dependence syndrome seen among certain mobile phone users. Some mobile phone users exhibit problematic behaviors related to substance use disorders. These behaviors can include preoccupation with mobile communication, excessive money or time spent on mobile phones, use of mobile phones in socially or physically inappropriate situations such as driving an automobile. Increased use can also lead to increased time on mobile communication, adverse effects on relationships, and anxiety if separated from a mobile phone or sufficient signal.”
My Smartphone Addiction
I would say that I may exhibit a few of those troubling behaviours at times when I am separated from my phone (especially the anxiety when separated). My phone should always be within an arm’s reach. I was previously completely and utterly unsuccessful in completing a 48-hour Social Media Sabbatical, which was not at all what I expected of myself. I am not a true digital native. I did not grow up using the latest and greatest technology, yet now in 2016 I find myself completely dependent on my iPhone (and iPad Mini). On a daily basis, I use the Google Maps app to find my way to and from new places, the social media apps to stay up-to-date on news and events, the camera app to take photos, the iBooks app to read books, the internet browser to enter Online Contests and look up random things that come to mind, the Calendar app to keep track of appointments, the Reminder app to remind me of my To-Do List items, the Shopping Cashback apps for rebates, the alarm app to wake up in the morning, and the Candy Crush app because it’s Candy Crush and it’s addictive.
Smartphone overuse may be increasing digital interactions (aka saying Happy Birthday to someone on Facebook that you have not seen since High School), but it may also be limiting face-to-face interactions. I will admit that I would be the first person to pull out my phone in a waiting room instead of making awkward conversation with strangers (but the feeling appears to be mutual as they all have their phones out too). My phone amuses me and feels like a bit of a security blanket in what would otherwise probably be a super random conversation about the weather.
Put The Phone Down (Sometimes)
I now recognize and fully admit that I have a Smartphone Addiction (or at the very least obsession). I promise that I will put my phone down sometimes and try to start a real (non-awkward) conversation with someone that I may not have previously interacted with. Life happened before cell phones were invented and people apparently survived just fine without having constant information at their fingertips or constant notification interruptions. I will go back to my 1980’s pre-internet roots (sometimes) in order to be more present, but will keep all of the current technology for the rest (most) of the time because that is what I am now used to. I am an analog girl who has adapted nicely to a new digital world.
Wikipedia. (March 28, 2016). Mobile phone overuse. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_overuse