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Smartphone addiction may create personal, social problems

Smartphone addiction may create personal, social problems
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People who use smartphones in excess may experience personal, social and workplace problems warn new research.

In the study, participants who identified themselves as "addicts" and "fanatics" exhibited signs that could indicate depression, social isolation, social anxiety, shyness, impulsivity and low self-esteem.

"Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering," said Isaac Vaghefi, Assistant Professor at the Binghamton University-State University of New York.

"Our neurones get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom," Vaghefi said.

The umbrella term "technology addiction" refers to addictive behaviour related to social media, excessive texting, information overload, online shopping, gambling, video gaming, online pornography and overall smartphone usage.

According to the study, seven per cent were identified as "addicts" and 12 per cent as "fanatics."

Both groups experience personal, social and workplace problems due to a compulsive need to be on their smartphones, according to the study published in the Information Systems Journal.

Females were most likely to exhibit susceptibility to addiction.

"While self-identified 'addict' users were in the minority, I predict technology addiction will increase as technology continues to advance and application, game and gadget developers find new ways to ensure users' long-term engagement with technology," Vaghefi said.

The researchers said that if you constantly check your smartphone, even when it does not ring or vibrate, or you get paranoid when the smartphone is not with you, seeking professional help might be a good idea.

Moreover, if you use technology as a way of escaping problems or relieving feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression, or you ignore what is happening in real time in favour of what is happening virtually, you might then be a right candidate to seek professional help, the researchers said.
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