Concerned about the use of your phone or internet? With these advice, you may overcome the habit and achieve a better balance between your online and offline lives.
Young woman checks her phone while lying on her stomach in bed with a duvet covering her.
What is internet or smartphone addiction?
While a cellphone, tablet, or pc can be a very useful tool, excessive usage of these gadgets can have a negative impact on relationships, job, and education. It may be time to reevaluate your technology use if you find that you spend more online, on social sites, or online games than you do engaging with actual people, or if you find that you are constantly checking your messages, email, or apps—even when doing so has negative effects on your life.
Smartphone addiction is frequently driven by an online overuse issue or an internet addiction condition, which is also referred to as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a cell device). After all, it’s usually the activities, apps, and growth of online that a phone or tablet connects us to that cause the compulsion rather than the device itself.
In terms of impulse control issues, smartphone addiction can include:
Virtual connections. Addiction to social media, dating apps, texting, and messaging can progress to the point where artificial, online friendships take precedence over interpersonal interactions in the real world. Everyone has witnessed couples conversing on their iPhones while seated next to one another in a restaurant. Online connections are not a healthy replacement for in-person interactions, even while the internet can be a great place to meet new people, get in touch with existing friends, or even initiate romantic relationships. Online friendships can be attractive because they frequently take place in a vacuum, free from the responsibilities or stresses of messy, real-world interactions. Using dating apps compulsively can cause you to lose interest in building long-term relationships and instead focus on quick hookups.
overabundance of information In addition to decreasing work productivity or school, compulsive web browsing, viewing movies, playing games, or monitoring news feeds can keep you alone for extended periods of time. Internet and smartphone addiction can make you disregard other facets of your life, including hobbies, social activities, and real-world relationships.
addiction to online sex. Utilizing adult messaging services, sexting, nude-swapping, or internet pornography compulsively can have a severe effect on your real-life close relationships and general emotional health. Although cybersex addictions and online pornography are forms of sexual addiction, the internet is making them more accessible, more anonymous, and very practical. It’s simple to lose hours in fantasies that are impractical in reality. Excessive usage of online dating that encourage casual sex might hinder the growth of long-term close relationships or sour an already-existing one.
Online addictions including gaming, betting, stock trading, internet ordering, and bidding on auction sites such as eBay can frequently result in issues with money and employment. Despite the fact that gambling addiction has always been a well-documented issue, internet gambling has greatly increased accessibility to the game. Online shopping addiction and compulsive stock trading can both have negative financial and social effects. Addicts to eBay can get up at odd hours to get in during an auction’s final few minutes. You might spend money you don’t have on goods you can’t afford just to feel the rush of making the winning bid.
addiction to smartphones and the internet: its causes and effects
While using a desktop or laptop computer can make it difficult to manage your urges, cellphones and tablets are portable and convenient enough that we can use them whenever we need to satisfy our compulsions. In actuality, most of us never go more than 5 meters from our iPhones. Similar to the usage of narcotics and drink, they can cause the neurotransmitter dopamine dopamine to be released, which might change your mood. Additionally, it is possible to quickly develop a tolerance, meaning that it will take you a longer and longer amount of time to feel the same pleasant pleasure from using these screens.
In many cases, excessive smartphone use is a sign of underlying conditions including stress, anxiety, despair, or loneliness. Additionally, it may make these issues worse at the same time. For example, if you use your smartphone as a “security blanket” to numb feelings of nervousness, isolation, or awkwardness in social environments, you’ll simply succeed in isolating yourself from those around you. Your ability to effectively connect with others, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood will be diminished if you spend all of your time staring at your phone. In other words, your anxiety is getting worse because you’re choosing to treat it by using your smartphone.
Your life may suffer from smartphone or addiction issues if: Loneliness and depression become more pronounced. While it may appear like losing yourself internet will make symptoms like loneliness, despair, and boredom vanish for a while, it might really make you feel worse. According to a 2014 study, depression and anxiety are associated with heavy social media use. Users of social media, particularly teenagers, frequently make negative comparisons to their classmates, which encourages feelings of isolation and despair.
creating more anxiety According to one study, people tend to become more worried and perform badly on assigned activities when there is just the possibility of a phone around. Anxiety levels increased in proportion to a person’s phone usage.
elevated anxiety When you use your smartphone for business, it frequently affects your personal and family life as well. There is pressure on you to never miss a beat and to stay connected to your work. Increased stress and even burnout can be caused by this desire to check and reply to emails on a constant basis.
raising the symptoms of attention deficit disorders. One cannot focus attention on any single thing for more than a few seconds without feeling forced to move on due to the constant barrage of messages and data that a smartphone sends out, which can overtax the brain.
reducing your capacity for profound, original thought, or focused attention. Your smartphone’s constant buzzing, pinging, or beeping might slow down your work, cause you to become sidetracked, and ruin those peaceful times that are so critical for problem solving and creativity. We are now constantly connected to the internet and never left alone with our thoughts.
sleep disturbance A major influence on your general mental health might result from excessive smartphone use disrupting your sleep. It may have an adverse effect on your memory, impair your mental clarity, and weaken your learning and cognitive abilities.
self-indulgence is promoted. Social media users are more likely to exhibit unfavourable personality traits including narcissism, according to a UK study. Constantly taking selfies, writing your ideas online, and sharing personal information about your life can lead to unhealthy narcissism, keep you from forming genuine connections with other people, and make it more difficult to handle stress.
Mobile phone addiction symptoms and signs
You cannot tell if you have an addiction or overuse issue based on how much time you spend on your phone, how frequently you check for updates, or how many texts you send or receive.
When your phone consumes so much of your time that you overlook your face-to-face relationships, work, school, hobbies, or other significant aspects of your life, that is when being always linked to it becomes a problem. It’s time to reevaluate your smartphone use and achieve a healthier balance in your life if you find yourself ignoring colleagues over lunch to read Facebook posts or compulsively checking your smartphone in while driving or listening to lectures.
Challenges finishing activities at work or home are among the warning signals of excessive smartphone or internet use. Because you’ve been occupied chatting online, sending texts, or playing video games, do you realise that your laundry is piling up and there isn’t much food in the house for dinner? Perhaps you are working later more frequently because you are unable to finish your assignment before the deadline.
apart from friends and family. Do you spend too much time on your smartphone or another technology to the detriment of your social life? Do you frequently check your phone while you’re at a meeting or conversing with pals, missing out on what is being said? Have your loved ones voiced concern about how much you spend on your mobile? Do you believe that nobody in “real life,” not even your spouse, has the same understanding of you as your online friends?
using a smartphone covertly. Do you secretly go somewhere quiet to use your phone? Do you conceal your smartphone use or tell your family, coworkers, and boss that you spend very little time online? Do interruptions to your internet time make you irritable or cranky?
experiencing “fear of missing out” (or FOMO). Do you detest feeling behind the times or believing you’re missing out on significant information or news if you don’t usually check your phone? Do you feel the urge to obsessively monitor social networks because you worry that other people are enjoying themselves more or have more exciting lives than you do? Are you a night owl and do you check your phone?
fear, worry, or panic if you forget your phone at home, if the battery dies, or if the operating system malfunctions. Or do you experience phantom vibrations, when you believe your smartphone has vibrated but there are no fresh updates or messages when you check?