If you’re like many people, your smartphone is at your side day and night. You use it to wake you up in the morning; to call, email, text, or Instagram people all day long; to guide you to an unfamiliar location; to lull you to sleep at night with nature sounds.
Is that a problem? Are you becoming too dependent on, or even addicted to, your smartphone?
Quite possibly, several studies say, though theories abound on how best to cure the problem.
“Cellphones are so multifunctional, and every week we’re coming up with more and more uses,” said James Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “Of course, they’re highly portable; they’re always with us, in our pockets. All that positions cellphones to be highly addictive.”
Roberts and colleagues recently published a study on the topic in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions. According to their study, college students spend more than eight hours a day on average using their cellphones. Roberts said this habit has dramatically changed the behavior of students and how they communicate and relate to each other.
“Ten years ago, I would walk into a classroom and kids would be bubbling — just talking and laughing. Now, I walk in and it’s like a morgue,” he said. “Everyone is their own separate entity, doing their own thing on the cellphones. They’re together, but alone.”