Is Cell Phone Addiction Real?
With almost everyone walking around with a cell phone of some sort now days, it’s inevitable that someone would look into whether people can become addicted to their phone or not.
Way back in 2016 (wow, that’s like 3 years ago! Does time fly, or what?) Sarah Klein wrote an article titled “4 Ways Your Phone Is Stressing You Out – And How To Take Back Control.” Sarah began her post by observing that, according to research from the PEW Research Center, 92% of American adults had a cell phone, and nearly 33% never turned them off.
Looking back at me and my own phone, I fall into that last category. I haven’t turned mine off since I can’t remember when. Even when charging, I leave it on, night and day.
While Sarah’s article didn’t discuss addiction, the 4 “stresses” she mentioned just might point in that direction.
Let’s take a minute and review what they are.
1. Low Battery Anxiety.
Do you suffer from LBA? Do you begin to panic when you get that “LOW BATTERY” indication on you screen?
I usually don’t, but I have to clarify that a little. There is one time when I do. Here’s when:
I use an app called iBiker when I ride my bicycle, and it tracks my distance, speed, route, gain or drop in elevation, and such. It’s a big deal to me to log my miles, because I have an annual goal that I’m trying to reach.
Using the app, and also listening to music, can drain the battery fairly quickly. If I haven’t finished my ride and I get a low battery notification, I begin to worry about the phone shutting down before I finish the ride and therefore losing some of my mileage.
That’s why I use a power pack when I ride. After a couple of hours in the saddle, the cell phone battery begins to get used up. The power pack solves that problem and keeps it charged while I ride.
When I’m not riding, I’m not too worried about having a low battery, so I guess I have “situational” LBA. Is that a thing?
According to Sarah, the major symptom of LBA is asking a complete stranger if you can borrow a charger.
The next time you fly, take notice of all the people waiting for flights with their phones plugged in somewhere. you’ll find them sitting on the floor or wherever they can find an outlet.There have even been TV commercials with phone users hunting down a way to charge their phones.
2. Phantom Vibration Syndrome
I’ve had this one happen too, more often than I want to admit. This is when you “feel” a buzz in your pocket and immediately reach for your phone, only to realize that you imagined the whole thing.
I keep my phone on vibrate, with the ringer turned off, so I’m probably more susceptible to this than most. I do that mainly because I play a couple of games on the phone, like Solitaire, and Sudoku, and I don’t like the accompanying bells, whistles, and applause type noises.
I rely on my Apple Watch and my phone’s vibration to let me know when someone’s contacting me.
I admit that I”ve missed a call or two this way, but I catch most of them.
3. Have You Heard The Term Nomophobe?
That’s the third stressor. You have nomophobia if you’re afraid of being without your phone. I guess there’s a phobia for everything now. I had to think about that one for a few minutes, and, since I’m always forgetting my phone or leaving it lying around somewhere, I’m not a nomophobe.
My phone is not my security blanket.
4. Another New Term – FOMO
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. I guess those who suffer from this stressor are always checking their phones to see if they have any new messages or communications with other people.
FOMO sufferers also start to get nervous when what they think is too much time passes without a communication. They start to think that people are purposely avoiding them, or excluding them from the “group.”
In most cases, this is an irrational fear. People driving through deserts and mountains where there isn’t a cell tower within range must become basket cases by the time they get back in range.
Looking back over the four stresses that Sarah listed in her article, I am of the opinion that numbers 1, 3, and 4 could be partial indicators of at least a mild addiction to the phone. I’m giving #2 a pass, because it’s more of a conditioned response that an addiction.
Somebody Came Up With A Test!
Dr. David Greenfield, PhD, of the Center For Internet and Technology Addiction at the University of Connecticut developed a “SMARTPHONE COMPULSION TEST.” Check it out, it’ll give you an idea of your level of addiction to your phone. Maybe you’re one of those people who don’t have a problem.
It’s not that long a test, and it makes you think a little bit.
I guess cell phone addiction is a real thing, otherwise there wouldn’t be PhD’s at major Universities studying it. A lot of people have addictive personalities, and the cell phone is just one more thing that people latch onto and can’t do without.
Imagine how bad it is for teenagers, but that’s a subject for another post.
Thanks for reading. I know your time is valuable so I appreciate it. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond. Now for a slight change of subject.
Update: I just learned that the Masters golf tournament has banned cell phones in the gallery on the course. It’s worth the read.
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Thanks again. I’m Grant.