As bigger and better technology continues to advance, we have started to regard our smartphones as not only a tool, but a best friend. College students today are especially vulnerable to smartphone addiction and need to find ways to ease up on cell phone usage.
A study conducted at Baylor University in August 2014 shows that, on average, female college students spend about 10 hours a day on their phone, while male college students spend about eight.
Many of us even suffer from separation anxiety if we go too long without our phones.
“Being disconnected from technology is surprisingly stressful,” Leon Edwards of Versapak said in The Drum. “There’s often a feeling of missing out, as we worry about what’s going on … without our knowledge.”
Internet companies have also begun to pick up strategies that tobacco companies have been using for decades - “create an obsession, then exploit it.” Neuroscientists have found that internet addiction may be astonishingly similar to nicotine addiction.
“We’re beginning to understand that achieving a goal or anticipating the reward of new content for completing a task can excite the neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain, which releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers,” said Bill Davidow, author of Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet, and writer for the Atlantic. “This in turn causes the experience to be perceived as pleasurable. As a result, some people can become obsessed with these pleasure-seeking experiences and engage in compulsive behavior such as a need to keep playing a game, constantly check email, or compulsively gamble online.
“Anything can be abused, even the smartphone. As our culture becomes more tech savvy and tech hungry, phone-free zones will become more and more common,” Dale Archer, M.D. of Psychology Today wrote.
More and more establishments are hanging “cellphone-free zone” signs encouraging users to put down their phones and enjoy their surroundings, whether it is at a restaurant, movie, on the bus, or in an airport.
If you think you may suffer from smartphone addiction, there are several steps that may help. Try giving yourself approximately 30 minutes before bed of screen-free time. This will help you fall asleep quicker and sleep better. You could also try putting your phone in your bag for an hour during class. You may be surprised to find yourself taking better notes and paying attention.
Try playing phone jail with your friends at dinner. Stack up all your phones in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for their iPhone has to buy everyone dinner.