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  • jensbammel

Are you addicted to your smartphone?

We spend nearly 5 hours per day [1] on our smartphones. And feel we have good reasons to do so. But ask yourself: if you are spending nearly a third of your waking hours staring at the small screen, what previous activity is it replacing? And is this something we want?

Because smartphones are always with us, always tempting, their use can also more easily turn into addictive behaviour. Here is a checklist for smartphone addiction, taken from a scientific study[2] and adjusted in accordance with checklists for other addictive behaviour. Use this list for yourself or your loved ones, to start a conversation about the best way to deliberately manage your time spent on this ultra useful, ultra entertaining, and potentially harmful device.

Negative effects of your smartphone use

1. Physiological or psychological impairments

Your thumbs, hands back or some other part of your body hurts because you have been using the phone for too long. You (or others around you) notice that using your phone increases your level of anxiety, jealousy or unhappiness. You can sense that it isn’t good for you.

2. Use in risky situations

You find yourself using your smartphone while driving or walking, or in another situation that requires situational awareness. If there were an accident, your smartphone use would be held against you.

3. Impaired professional productivity or performance

Because of your smartphone use your professional (or academic) performance has dropped, either objectively or you sense it personally. You have reduced the time spent on your medium- and long term priorities or on activities that you consider important, strategic, healthy or worthwhile to achieve your goals.

4. Impaired private life and relationships

Your smartphone is with you at all times. During meals, meet-ups or conversations your smartphone reduces your focus on those present. Notifications constantly disrupt conversations. Someone important has expressed concern about your excessive smartphone use (and you sense there is some truth to it).

Personal Symptoms of Addiction

1. Excessive use

You frequently find yourself using your smartphone far longer than you originally intended.

2. Recurrent failure to resist its pull

You frequently feel the impulse to use your smartphone, and find this difficult to resist.

3. Withdrawal symptoms

When you decide not to use your smartphone for a longer period of time, you become unhappy, anxious or irritable.

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