How often do you look at your smartphone during the course of the day? We’ll bet that you might well be very surprised to learn the actual number. While our phones are wonderful communication devices and very convenient to have with us (how many times have you looked something up today?), they can also take up a tremendous part of our day.
In many cases, we don’t even realize just how much. When was the last time you saw an alert and went to investigate, only to get distracted by something else? Next thing you know, several minutes have gone by and you haven’t even addressed the thing the alert was about!
It’s not entirely your fault. Facebook, Twitter, and other sites are addictive by design. The possibility of reward (a positive comment about you, someone liking your post, your post getting shared by someone else, etc) can lead us to constantly head back hoping for that positive feeling. The fact that it only happens about every 50 times does not stop people from continuing to do it. Some have compared this addiction to the plight that gamblers find themselves in. The stakes may not seem as high, but they are still significant.
While too much Facebook use has been linked to depression, the physical symptoms of smartphone addiction usually don’t extend beyond thumb and neck pain. That can make it less of a priority for people and something they are more likely to just ignore in favor of “real problems.”
However, if your phone use is affecting your ability to get work done, compromising the time you spend with friends and family, and even threatening your safety (a distressing number of people are either in car accidents or mowed down by vehicles while looking at their phones), it is actually a major issue.