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Are you addicted to your phone?

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Images such as the photo above may cause extraordinary laughter to viewers and possibly deep embarrassment to the person involved. It is a photo of four different moments captured on a mall security camera of a woman falling into a fountain because she is so distracted by her cell phone. What could have been that important or engaging that she did not see that she was about to be immersed in water? One might wonder if situations such as these are an anomaly or what is rapidly becoming the norm in nations where there is wide usage of smart phones and mobile application software (apps). Unfortunately, there were several results to choose from the search engine we used to find the image above.

Other scenarios aren’t so embarrassing, but put into question how people now socialize. An example of this would be someone at a dinner party, too pre-occupied by their phone, clicking away on a friends’ photo shared on social media of some sort of exotic vacation trip, only to find carefully curated photos exclusively featuring that friend. While there are many advancements in technology that are undeniably necessities for functioning well in our society in its current state, some pitfalls exist. Perhaps it’s simply a normal thing – “phubbing,” the casual definition assigned to this behavior by the online magazine publisher, The Atlantic. Or is this behavior indicative of something more serious?

It becomes less of a humorous conversation when we begin to attach words such as addiction or psychological and physiological health issues to the discussion about smart phone usage. The U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines the word nomophobia (in the image above) as a cell phone addiction. While at first nomophobia may sound absurd, NIH researchers have conducted studies that highlight adolescent anxiety, stress, depression, and sleep deprivation resulting from cell phone addiction. This research led us to find more data about this apparent phone addiction and what people are doing to detox. Detox is not too dramatic of a word to use here. In addition to the NIH research studies, we discovered articles from The New York Times, Forbes, and even a TED talk detailing the withdrawals some experienced when they embarked on a cold turkey fast from their phones and social media.