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MU Psych Central – Tech Addiction Pt. 1

Dr. Mayo presents the 8 warning signs of smartphone addiction

 

by Dr Nicolle Mayo - July 29, 2016

Cell phones are a necessity for many of us. We use them for everything, business purposes, to look up information, call, text, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, listen to books, music, and play Pokemon Go. With all of these conveniences, can cell phones really be that dangerous? Well, if you develop a dependence on them, they can.

Much research has been done and still needs to be done regarding the idea of cell phone addiction. Current research examinations are identifying the specifics of cell phone hazards to our health, often using gambling addiction as a comparison for cell phone addiction. A number of symptoms have been identified (similar to gambling) that provide an idea for what problematic cell phone use looks like. At least four of these behavioral symptoms found could imply a serious dependence and maybe even be considered a formal addiction someday:

• A need to use our cell phone more and more often in order to achieve the same desired effect
• Persistent failed attempts to use our cell phone less often
• Preoccupation with using our cell phone
• Turning to our cell phone when we experience unwanted feelings such as anxiety or depression
• Excessive use characterized by losing our sense of time
• Putting a relationship or job at risk due to our excessive cell use
• Tolerance (need for the newest phone, more applications, or increased use)
• Withdrawal when our cell phone or network is unreachable (anger, tension, depression, irritability, and/ or restlessness)

Correlated with these proposed symptoms are negative physical and psychological effects. If you are curious or want more information about this and whether you struggle with cell phone dependence or potential addiction, check out this link: PsychGuides.com.

Moreover, research has investigated whether there are symptom differences between men and women regarding how an addiction could form. A recent study found differences between men and women’s use of phones and cues to each gender becoming addicted. For men, increased time on Bible or reading book apps as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were strongly linked to developing an addiction. Women using Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon, or apps that allowed them to use their phones like an iPod increased risk for addiction. Bible, Twitter, Pandora, and Spotify apps actually decreased the risk for addiction in women. Although this many not exactly pinpoint the reason you may be dependent or addicted to your phone, it does point to the types of rewards received or sought out based on gender or even interest. For men, this is usually connected to entertainment and gaining information. For women, it is typically based on maintaining and nurturing social relationships.

Even with all of this insightful information, we need to take this all in cautiously. Science is still developing, but it does show a high potential for addiction based on current studies so far. Additionally, many studies have also taken a neuroscience perspective in observing brain activity when we use our phones. This has also lead to some interesting theories and implications, revealing how loops are formed and repeated over and over because of the rewards we receive. There is more to be said about this detailed complicated process, so stay abreast of another MU Psych Central feature, right after this.

MU Psych Central is supported by the Mansfield Psychology Department, which includes Dr. Gretchen Sechrist, Department Chair and Associate Professor, who specializes in Social Psychology, Dr. Brian Loher, Professor, our Human Resource Management specialist, Dr. Francis Craig, Professor, expert in Mind/Body Health, Dr. Karri Verno, Associate Professor, who specializes in Lifespan Development and Forensic Psychology and Nicolle Mayo, Assistant Professor, expert in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Credits:

Writing: N/A

Photography: N/A,

 

Produced by Vogt Media

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