Smartphone Addiction: How Technology Affects Public Health and Social Relationships
During the COVID-19 epidemic, people can remain in touch with loved ones, get up-to-date information, and even do remote work thanks to their digital gadgets. In addition, the widespread use of mobile devices has also facilitated children’s access to remote learning.
Addiction to mobile phones is possible, although they aid us in many ways in our job, entertainment, and everyday lives. Smartphone addiction has indicators and symptoms with other types of addiction, including substance misuse and compulsive gambling. These are anxiety, sadness, strained relationships, and behavioral problems.
The Mental Impact of Using A Smartphone
According to the experts, too much time spent on one’s smartphone might harm one’s brain. In addition, too much time spent on a smartphone can lead to unhealthy habits and mental health problems. Some ways in which smartphone use alters mental processes include:
FOMO- Fear of Missing Out
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a psychological condition that causes smartphone users anxiety. For instance, being in the dark about the whereabouts of their pals might make someone feel alone. Friends may feel less criticized by them as a consequence. As a result, many feel compelled to check their phones for breaking news updates constantly.
Attachment is a psychological term for a close emotional tie. In psychology, for instance, the concept of attachment highlights the bonds formed between people, such as a baby and their mother, and the effects of separation, which can include feelings of fear and anguish. Smartphone users often suffer stress and separation anxiety because of their “addiction.”
Lack of sleep is another side effect of smartphone addiction. Anxiety, depression, and behavioral/compulsive problems are other mental health consequences of excessive smartphone use.
What Effect Does Phone Addiction Have On Emotional Well-Being?
More and more studies are looking at the effects of smartphone addiction on people’s mental health. They are finding that it is across all demographic lines. So to what extent can excessive phone use compromise one’s mental health? Those who rely excessively on their smartphones may find themselves isolated. Moreover, it may have devastating effects on one’s physical and mental health, including poor quality of sleep and weakened immunity.
A smartphone user’s attitude and anxiety might turn for the worst if they develop a habit of constantly checking the news for alarming developments. Doomscrolling is another term for this practice. In addition, parents’ increased smartphone usage during the COVID-19 outbreak may have adverse effects on their children.
Anxiety, loneliness, fear of missing out, intense boredom without a smartphone, depression, and irritability are all signs that you may have a problem with smartphone addiction and should get help.
Strategies for Overcoming Smartphone Dependence
Push notifications are one method used by smartphone manufacturers to keep customers riveted to their screens. Push notifications occur when a server sends data to a client device without the user’s first request. Smartphone users are prompted to take action in response to these signals using noises, alarms, and visuals. Users may quickly browse through articles thanks to user-friendly interfaces, algorithms that learn from user actions, and other conveniences.
Not everyone develops an addiction, but if you or someone you know is showing indications of smartphone addiction, the following advice may be helpful:
- Take note of the situations that lead you to reach for your phone. Recognizing the issue is the starting point. Next, you could attempt some better options, such as learning how to relax and deal with stress.
- Get better at dealing with stress. For example, having your phone time restricted may be significant pain. On the other hand, the more challenges one faces and triumphs over, the more resilient one becomes. You can feel more at peace, help people better understand you, and strengthen your resilience via meaningful social interaction, such as a conversation with a friend.
- Prioritizing self-care through engagement in non-app-related activities is helpful for those with smartphone addiction. Physical and mental well-being go hand in hand, so making time for things like working out, learning a new skill, or exploring new interests is essential.
- Focusing on your breath during this relaxation technique will help stabilize your mood. In addition, physical activity has been shown to boost health, relieve stress, and elevate mood.
- Lack of sleep can exacerbate irritability, moodiness, and other symptoms. Conversely, the endorphins released during physical activity have improved sleep.
- Starting a New Interest Dedicate 10–15 minutes daily to avoid your smartphone and explore a new interest.
- Practicing mindfulness and exercise can help with stress, setting regular no-screen times, turning off social media alerts, going on a digital detox, spending time with loved ones, using applications that restrict screen usage, and learning something new or picking up a hobby.
Smartphone Addiction: Wrapping Up!
Addiction to smartphones may soon be a significant health concern. The corpus of knowledge on the topic is expanding, even though it is not yet a recognized clinical diagnosis. Humans are hardwired to interact with others. Smartphones facilitate communication between friends and acquaintances. However, feelings of loneliness can set in when smartphone use takes the place of actual human contact and becomes excessive. Inactivity, distracted thinking, and other mental health problems are some adverse outcomes of excessive smartphone use.