We’re Not Addicted to Smartphones, We’re Dependent



With our eyes constantly glued to our phones, the common criticism we hear from older generations is that we’re addicted to our smartphones. And while we’re extremely possessive of our phones, it’s not without warrant. We’re addicted to smartphones in the same way the rest of humanity is addicted to oxygen. It’s not that we’re actually addicted, it’s that we need them. They contain all of our information, our schedules, our contact to the outside world, and our entertainment.

Unlike substance addiction, smartphones typically make our lives better. Dr. Mark Griffiths, a Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University says “Just because something is very important in your life, and you carry it everywhere, and when you forget it, you feel like your left arm’s missing, that doesn’t mean that you’re addicted…Even although people may be using their smartphones a lot, it’s generally life-enhancing…”

Generally speaking, we’re more dependent on our smart phones than we are addicted. However, smartphone addiction is a real thing, albeit rare. Like drug addiction, there several indicators of smartphone addiction, and in his paper, Adolescent mobile phone addiction: A cause for concern?, Dr. Griffiths suggests that if you agree to at least six of the following statements, you may be addicted to your smartphone:

“My mobile phone is the most important thing in my life”

“Conflicts have arisen between me and my family and/or my partner about the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone”

“My mobile phone use often gets in the way of other important things I should be doing (working, education, etc.)”

“I spend more time on my mobile phone than almost any other activity”

“I use my mobile phone as a way of changing my mood”

“Over time I have increased the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone during the day”

“If I am unable to use my mobile phone I feel moody and irritable”

“I often have strong urges to use my mobile phone”

“If I cut down the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone, and then start using it again, I always end up spending as much time on my mobile phone as I did before”

“I have lied to other people about how much I use my mobile phone”


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