JOUR 101

The alluring new age addiction

Mobile devices such as smartphones are now so addictive that we cannot complete simple tasks without one in hand

Smartphone users equate to 1.08 billion of the world’s population. As they are ever-increasingly becoming part of our daily routine, it is hard not to become addicted. But are they as detrimental as we all think?

Psychologists and the public alike are yet to come up with a concrete answer as to whether or not they believe smartphones are addictive, “they have become a huge part of our lives it’s like saying a toaster is addictive!” says 23-year-old Sydney University Psychology student Sarah Watson.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that if you use your smartphone more than 7 hours a day then it is classified as an addiction. Users each day spend 24 minutes web browsing and 17 minutes on social media “your entire life is on one small device that is constantly at arm’s length” said Ms Watson. They have become such an integrated part of our daily routine that “it’s hard to switch off”.

Evidence has shown that 84% of people could not go a single day without their phones. This poll also showed that the withdrawal symptoms – such as insomnia and anxiety – are comparative to those of substance abuse or other forms of addictions.

It is not just adult addiction that has people worried, it is the skills that children are not developing as a result of being ‘hooked’ on mobile devices. A professor at Tokyo Seitoku University said that children who are not interacting “normally”, “don’t learn how to read non-verbal language” which is one of the milestones in a child’s development.

This revelation has lead a prestigious Perth girls’ school to ban the use of mobile phones in school playgrounds to encourage face-to-face conversations and to prevent addiction. Kiama local and father of two, Peter O’Neil says that this is a brilliant idea and should be “enforced in schools everywhere, even primary school. It might finally help children experience their world and just be children again.”

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