Texting and Facebooking frequently throughout the day is one thing, but how can you tell if your smartphone has you in its grip? By Sasha Gonzales
Why your smartphone has such a strong hold over you. (Photo: geralt / www.pixabay.com)
Everywhere in Singapore – just look around you on the streets, bus or MRT – people are absorbed in their gadgets. Even at home, chances are their eyes are still glued to their smartphones, even bringing the device into the toilet during showers or when doing number two.
Messages, e-mails, notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc and even games such as Bejeweled and Candy Crush. Why does the smartphone have such a strong hold on many of us?
1. You’re addicted to your smartphone because… You need to do something
“We are a society of ‘doers’, so we are uncomfortable if we have nothing to do,” says Elisabetta Franzoso, author and well-being trainer and coach from Inside Out You Development.
“Checking our phones is a way to stay busy and keep from being bored. It shifts our focus. But many of us, when we are on our smartphones, are like robots – disconnected and on automatic pilot. There is no time for affirmation these days. People are too busy to meet and compliment one another. So we look to Facebook and Twitter to receive this validation.”
2. You’re addicted to your smartphone because… It’s a source of distraction
According to Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, there are many reasons why one might develop an addiction to his or her smartphone. “It might help them cope better with stress because it’s a distraction,” he explains.
“For people who need constant stimulation or are easily bored, their smartphone is a godsend. And then there are those who simply like to withdraw into a state of isolation – for them, the phone symbolises a kind of invisible barrier that warns others not to come near.”
If we are insecure or have low self-esteem, our smartphones can also help us get the validation and approval we seek. For instance, we feel good instantly and accepted, when someone comments positively on our photos or statuses, says Daniel.
Easily bored? That could be one reason why you are chained to your smartphone. (Photo: Jeshoots / www.pixabay.com)
3. You’re addicted to your smartphone because… It makes you feel good
We ﬁnd ourselves turning to them more often in order to experience that pleasure or high, and when we are without them, we feel empty. “Using our phones stimulates the area of the brain that’s associated with pleasure,” says Daniel. “The more often we experience this pleasure, the more stimulation is needed to achieve the same level of satisfaction the next time. Although it is not a chemical dependence, the process and effects are the same.”
The big question remains: Are you addicted to your smartphone?
You’ll know you are addicted to your phone when it starts interfering with your daily activities and distracts you from the task at hand, Elisabetta explains.
“When you have an emotional craving for your phone and feel that you need it in order to function properly, then it’s a clear sign you could be a tech junkie. Checking it becomes habitual. You don’t just use the device to communicate with others; you use it compulsively because you need that stimulation – that is not normal.”
Also, if you’re so attached to the gadget that you need it in order to lessen whatever negative emotions you might be experiencing, then you’ve got a problem, adds Elisabetta. “Addiction is anything that controls your life to the point where nothing else matters.”