If you are the praying type, which do you do first on waking up in the morning: Praying or checking your mobile phone? Does your phone compete with your food for attention on the dining table or elsewhere? The urge to use the phone is fast becoming a compulsive obsession.
More people are getting addicted to the mobile phone, disconnecting them from many important things in life.
Statistics regarding Cell phone use
Statistics from various studies/sources is alarming.
•Most people now check their smart phones 150 times a day, or every six minutes. Nearly 80 percent of teens check their phones hourly; 72 percent feel the urge to respond immediately.
•Forty-six percent of Smart phone users say they “couldn’t live without” it. Some say they’d give up sex first.
•More than 1,000 pedestrians visited emergency rooms in 2008 following injuries while using a cell phone to talk or text and since 2006 that number had doubled for the previous two years, an Ohio State University study showed.
In 2010, pedestrians injured while using cell phones accounted for 1,500 emergency room visits.
• Of the 83 percent of adults in the U.S. who own cell phones, about 73 percent of them send text messages; about 31 percent of that number prefers texting to actually talking on the phone.
According to an expert, every time people look down at their phones, they’re spending precious time giving attention to something that doesn’t really matter.
Some of the obvious effects of overdependence on the phone include:
The Internet makes us stupid: Generally, the increasing use of the Internet leaves us stupid or dull because it makes us reliant or dependent on it. Things we used the human brain to do, such as simple calculation, spelling or simply recalling things are delegated to the mobile phone.
A new research has discovered that the more times people look up facts online, the less they prefer to rely on their own memories for even the simplest questions.
Psychologists have called this ‘offloading’. Effectively the Internet is taking over from human memory.
Dr Benjamin Storm, the study’s first author, said, “Memory is changing. Our research shows that as we use the Internet to support and extend our memory and we become more reliant on it.
Whereas before we might have tried to recall something on our own, now we don’t bother.
As more information becomes available via mobile phones and other devices, we become progressively more reliant on it in our daily lives.”
Increased levels of stress: People that compulsively check their phones every minute are extremely addicted to it. Their mind and body constantly remain under stress due to their habit of checking their phones after short intervals.
When you are on a vacation, where you are supposed to feel stress-free, you check your phone first thing in the morning. You chat with your colleagues and get anxious about your work.
The fact that you can check your phone and get updates from work means you are putting a lot of work-stress on your mind.
There is also stress of the fingers. A research conducted in the University of Zurich recorded the brain activity of mobile phone addicts with an EEG. The scientists found that participants that constantly use their mobile phones had a high level of brain activity every time they touched their phone’s screen.
This increased electrical activity in the brain results in severe stress on the fingers and the mind.
It has also been found that after a long and hectic day at work, many people excessively use their phones. Working hours are stressful enough to drain your energy. However, phone addicts still feel the need of putting their mind under massive stress. Not only their eye muscles get tired, their energy levels deteriorate.
Insomnia: People who are addicted to phones find it hard to unplug from work and social networks. At night, lying on the bed, one should focus on giving the mind and body some rest and this is exactly what sleep is for.
However, constantly checking your phone and keeping it next to your pillow is doing more damage than you ever imagined. Letting your phone usage invade your sleep is the worst thing you are doing to your mind and body.
This over-use of technology may lead to stress, less productivity, lower energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and lower brain activity.
Changing sleep pattern: Phone usage at night has been linked to disturbed sleeping patterns by several medical experts and researchers. Using the phone for entertainment makes us want to stay awake for longer hours. Constant repetition of this disrupts our natural sleeping patterns.
Such people usually sleep less than seven hours, which causes several health risks including diabetes, heart problems, depression, inability to concentrate, poor memory, inactive mind and learning problems.
Depression: People nowadays prefer virtual communication instead of a face-to-face one. People that are addicted to their phones find it hard to stay away from them. Such people then feel strong withdrawal symptoms when they cannot have their phones; including severe depression.
Also a lot of depression is caused when we are anxiously waiting for a text-message or a call but do not receive one.
Aggressiveness: Getting addicted to it may cause several behavioral shifts and problems including aggression.
People that constantly use their phones are unable to look away from them. In some cases, the addiction is so bad that people feel angry when their phone is taken away from them or it spoils.
A great number of teens do not let anyone touch their phones. When they lose their phones, they show signs of aggression, which results in constant mood swings, unhappiness and irritation over little things.
Compulsive phone checking: One of the major symptoms that have been noted in people with excessive use of phones is that they find it hard to leave their phones for good.
Limit your cell phone use
Dr Joseph Mercola, reports Haiis, the digital detox expert, as saying setting boundaries for yourself is key. When the urge comes to reach for your phone, for instance, go outside, take a walk or exercise — do something positive to distract yourself.
“We have constant access to new information and this is alluring, intriguing and exciting, but without setting limits for yourself, it’s a slippery slope … The dopamine in our brains is stimulated by the unpredictability that social media, emails and texting provide.
It’s a vicious cycle and in order to break that cycle, you need to find the same unpredictability and stimulation which is out there if you are exercising. You never know what’s around the bend when out for a jog, bike ride or walk.”
It’s important to know when it’s time to put down your Smart phone and connect with the living, breathing people in your life, some of whom you know and some whom you don’t yet but whom you’d never meet if you didn’t look up.