Blogger and ABC contributor Peter Ryan has a superneat post on a new report confirming what most of us already knew: Australians are addicted to their smartphones. The survey of smartphone users by tech behemoth Cisco reveals that the daily ritual for Gen Y Aussies kicks off with a quick txt.
Many of the survey participants admitted that they checked for messages, emails and updates at least twice an hour, many becoming anxious when their phone goes astray.
Kevin Bloch isn’t alone, our favourite news agency – Reuters – has an ubercool post on our latest addiction, Social Media.
Social media is now apparently a recognised addiction, a study undertaken last year by the University of Chicago found that Liking and Tweeting can be even more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. The research showed that social networking sites gave users a burst of the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine ::::
Cisco’s chief technology officer Kevin Bloch told Ryan that many people – predominantly Gen Yers – are showing signs of a serious smartphone addiction.
“Literally as they open their eyes the alarm clock, which is probably on their phone, goes off. They reach out for the alarm clock, look at their updates, maybe on Facebook, maybe Twitter etc, maybe go through their email, and then they get out of bed,” he observed. “Nine out of 10 of the survey of 3,800 people under 30 years old are addicted to their smartphone and, in fact, one out of five are checking their smartphone every ten minutes.”
Setting Up Dangerous Habits
Mr Bloch reckons this addiction to smartphone is developing dangerous habits, like smsing, checking emails and tweeting while driving.
“It’s happening subconsciously, and one out of five people are texting while they’re driving, and it just speaks to this addictive, compulsive, behaviours that we’re seeing,” Mr Bloch said. “You know, can you not put your phone down whilst you’re in your car? I mean, we’re talking not just about using the phone for voice, we’re talking about texting while you’re driving, and that’s a really dangerous thing.”
Cisco’s report found that it isn’t only Gen-Yers addicted to their smartphones.
“For example, with under 30s their addiction would be to be connected to their social lives, some might also to be connected to their work lives and so on. As you go on in life and you become more established, you’ve got a family and so on, the addiction changes. It may be you’re worried about your family so you want to stay connected and so on, but there will be different types of addictions or compulsive behaviour.” Mr Bloch said. “But I think what is becoming consistent is that that smartphone is becoming the central point of contact to other services and people, no matter what age you are.”
“Resisting the desire to work when it conflicts with other goals such as socialising or leisure activities may be difficult because work can define people’s identities, dictate many aspects of daily life, and invoke penalties if important duties are shirked.”
Serious Separation Anxiety
Mr Bloch says when someone’s smartphone goes missing or when it starts running out of charge, they often start getting anxious.
“In the report they talk about, you know, the human body’s got 206 bones and the smart phone’s your 207th bone, and you’ll know about it if you don’t have it,” Mr Bloch said..
Cisco’s report has also found there’s been a gradual shift in accepted etiquette with mobile device use, with more folk now using their devices at the dinner table and in bed.
“Three-quarters of the people surveyed use their smartphone in bed, and the question about romance and all that sort of thing comes up,” Mr Bloch said. “I think 46 per cent will use their smartphone whilst at the dinner table, and if most of the table are txting while you’re trying to eat I would consider that rude, and with my family I definitely try to stop it. “
Kevin Bloch isn’t alone, our favourite news agency – Reuters – has an ubercool post on Social Media Addictions.
Social media is now a recognised addiction, a study undertaken last year by the University of Chicago found it can even be more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. The research showed that Likes and Retweets gave users a burst of the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine.
Fighting that urge to log into Facebook or send another tweet imay just be a losing battle. “Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail,” Wilhelm Hofmann, the lead researcher told the Guardian. “In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money.”
Researchers reckon that the addictive nature of social media may be the result of its “high availability.” And just like the negative fallout from substances like alcohol and tobacco, there’s a clear message about the impacts Social Media might have on our health. The researchers found that “…as a day wears on, willpower is eroded, becoming considerably lower with efforts at self-control more and more likely to fail.” The physical impacts may include anxiety, sleeplessness and a growing addiction to anything attached – smartphones and mobile devices – attached to achieving Social media Nirvana.
Mr Bloch says people need to re-evaluate their smartphone use.
“I think people need to take a step back and understand from their own personal perspectives how addicted they are, like any drug, I guess if I could put an analogy on it,” he advised. “Because, you know, it could touch on or infringe on things like your manners, all the way through to your work-life balance, all the way through to your personal safety.”
In the University of Chicago study, participants were signalled seven times a day over 14 hours for a week straight, they were asked to message back whether they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within the last 30 minutes, what type it was, the strength – up to irresistible – whether it conflicted with other desires and whether they resisted or went along with it. There were 10,558 responses and 7,827 “desire episodes” reported.
So next time you reach for that smartphone, resist, let Gmail wait, hold off on your next Facebook Like, allow those tweets to roll on by….
Check Peter Ryan’s Blog: mainstreetwiththeabcspeterryan.blogspot.com
source: psychological science
source: the guardian
Reuters Video Transcript:
Gemini Adams is a self-confessed addict. Not drugs, not alcohol, but Facebook. SOUNDBITE (English) AUTHOR AND FORMER FACEBOOK ADDICT GEMINI ADAMS, SAYING: “I’d signed up to every aspect of Facebook. and was utilising every sort of part of it. Checking in whereever I went and I remember just feeling really kind of revolting and just, you know, gnarled up inside physically because I hadn’t been exercising. And I was just in this position, hunched over a computer and you know my eyesight was worse.” Yoga is part of Gemini’s digital detox. She won’t use Facebook now for more than half an hour at a time – and once a week she’ll go 24 hours straight without internet altogether.
SOUNDBITE (English) AUTHOR AND FORMER FACEBOOK ADDICT GEMINI ADAMS, SAYING: “That little sensation would come up that would be oh I’l just see if anyone’s commented on that thing I wrote this morning. I used to be a smoker and it’s very similar to that sort of sensation of needing to have something, needing to go do something.” Social media is now a recognised addiction. A study last year by the University of Chicago found it can even be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. RESEARCH SHOWS..Likes and retweets give users a burst of the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine. But a LACK of endorsements can provoke jealousy and anxiety. So how much is too much?
SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT SAYING: “Psychiatrists say the alarm bells start to ring if you’re looking at Facebook and Twitter more than 10 times a day. And if that amounts to more than 5 hours, then you might have a problem.” And it’s a lot more common than you might think…/ but some aren’t willing to admit it. SOUNDBITE (English) VOX POPS… “How many hours a day are you on Facebook and Twitter?” “What if I told you that meant you were addicted?” Consultant psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham treats around 100 social media addicts a year at this clinic in London. His patients range from as young as 10 to 35.
SOUNDBITE (English) DR RICHARD GRAHAM, NHS TAVISTOCK AND PORTMAN CLINIC, SAYING: “They start to miss or avoid doing the necessary things in life, even at a fundamental level of self-care. They delay eating or avoid eating or drinking, delay sleep, miss meetings or delay getting into work or college. There are certainly some young people easily passing 9, 10 hours a day using social media.” Treatment begins with complete abstinence. But in today’s increasingly connected world, switching off may be a lot harder than it sounds.