Sunday, January 15, 2012
Hello, I’m a smartphone addict
Keep refreshing your email accounts on your phone more than you need to? Constantly checking what your friends are up to through the Facebook and Twitter apps? Feel like reloading news pages all the time even you know truly significant events don’t happen every 5 minutes? Welcome to the club of smartphone addicts!
A recent research in England found out that obsessive use of smartphones may link to higher stress. Richard Balding, a psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Worcester, and his team recruited more than 100 participants for the study, including university students, retail workers, and public-sector employees. They were asked to complete a questionnaire and conduct psychometric stress tests. The results showed that the people who check their phone more frequently tend to be more stressed. The study also revealed that 37% of adults and 60% of teenagers described themselves as addicted to their devices. People can get very anxious and suffer from withdrawal symptoms when not receiving notifications or alerts on their phones. Some are so hooked that they even begin to experience “phantom” vibrations or bings where they mistakenly believe their phone gives an alert.
It sounds like an easy accusation. But on second thought, I’m not so convinced. There are so many possible reasons for stress. Work, relationships, organizing life, or even just conducting the test itself. The cause-effect link seems a bit hastily established. Also, could it be the other way around? Maybe an easily-stressed person checks his/her phone often because he/she tend to feel more obliged to keep on top of things? Maybe those who are already stressed out would like to have some light readings for a change or turn to their friends for some fun?
The study suggested that “people should have a break from their smartphones where possible.” But human beings are social animals. It’s only natural to have the desire to be connected. Sorry Balding, I am and I will still be a smartphone addict.