Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone

The use of smartphones has multiplied over the last decade. According to Pew Research Centre, almost two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners. In addition, 15% Americans aged between 18 and 29 are heavily dependent on their smartphones for online access.

Although technology brings with it a multitude of benefits to make our lives easier, faster and more connected, the risks are real.

Today, people find it impossible to live or function without their smartphones. As soon as people wake up, they check their smartphones. And that is also the last thing they go before going to bed. From checking their Facebook newsfeed to posting selfies on Instagram, people use their smart phones 24/7. If you find yourself spending more time on your smart phone, then there is a high chance you are addicted to the hi-tech gadget. Here are the most common warning signs that you have a smartphone addiction:

Spend countless hours doing nothing

Many people are guilty of this. They spend seconds, minutes and hours checking their Twitter account or exploring every other Facebook friend’s profile. Unfortunately, they tend to waste valuable time in this process of stalking others online or reading irrelevant stories online.

While there is nothing wrong with actively using social media via your smartphone, excessive use of technology affects our life, especially our mental and physical health.

Sleeping with your smartphone

Many people sleep with smartphones under their pillows or close to their bed. Apart from being a major distraction throughout the night, it is also dangerous as the radiation from smartphones is likely to cause cancer.

In one instance, a teenager in Texas had placed her Samsung Galaxy S4 under her pillow while sleeping. The smartphone had partially melted and scorched her sheets and mattress.

Unless you are expecting an emergency call, turn off your smartphone, keep it away from your bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Fiddling with your smartphone

Staring at your phone for hours or playing with it unnecessarily are classic signs of smartphone addiction. Using your smartphone, especially when you are in conversation with someone, is not only addictive behavior, it is also rude.

It really doesn’t matter how old you are or how important an online message or email is, put down your smartphone when talking to someone or at dinner time. Be respectful towards others.

Constantly checking your smartphone in the middle of the night

As mentioned earlier, keeping your smartphone anywhere near you during bedtime will disturb your sleep. Moreover, if you are sleeping in a common room, imagine how infuriating the light from your phone could be for others.

Keep reminding yourself that nothing is more important than a good night’s sleep. Having adequate hours of sleep will ensure you are well-rested to function properly the next day. If you are waiting for an important email, it can wait until the morning.

Withdrawal symptoms

Do you feel angry, stressed out or have anxiety attacks without your smartphone? It is time to seek assistance from a professional therapist.

Carefully analyze how much time you spend on your smartphone and the impact it has on your physical and emotional well-being. If you feel you have a problem, consult STAR Guides— a specialized rehabilitation treatment center for all sorts of addictions. Click here to read about their wilderness therapy program, exclusively designed for adolescent boys and girls struggling with digital addiction.

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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