Can Smartphone Addiction Impact Our Health and Wellbeing?

When most people hear the term “addiction,” they think of drugs or other harmful substances that tend to wreak havoc on lives and tear families apart.  In fact, an addiction is anything that exerts power over your life and begins to affect your work, relationships, or daily activities.  While waking up to a shot of whiskey in your morning coffee may be the furthest thing from your mind, the fact is that many people reach for their smartphones before doing anything else at the start of the day.  Smartphone addiction is a growing concern and could be impacting your health and well-being in more ways than you imagine.

Smartphone Addiction

Can Smartphone Addiction Impact Our Health and Wellbeing?

Let’s face facts – smartphones are amazing devices! They provide the ultimate in connectivity and bundle a myriad of devices into one small package. A smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge allows you to be constantly connected to friends, loved ones, and co-workers. You can get the latest in world, political, and entertainment news effortlessly.  Need a dinner, hotel, or airline reservation? Done! You can even control home appliances, drones, and of course, your music playlist, through your phone. That’s a powerful device! No wonder it’s difficult to put down. In fact, it’s so attractive that it’s become a problem for many.

According to a 2015 Pew Research Centre study, 24% of teenagers admit to being online “almost constantly.”  The problem isn’t isolated to teens, however. A study several years ago by Lockett indicated that the average smartphone user checks their phone 150 times per day.

Is this bad for you, though?  It can’t be good, but there is some evidence to suggest that smartphone addiction is harmful, particularly to relationships.   Psychologists from two U.S. universities have claimed that smartphone addiction can act as a veritable “third wheel” in relationships.   In their poll, 62 percent of women in long-term relationships said that smartphones interfere with the free time that they spend with their partners.  75 percent claimed that their smartphone use was negatively affecting their relationship.  Smartphone addiction could not only cost you a valued relationship, but it could also quite simply result in something much more tragic.

It is becoming increasingly evident that our fascination with our phones is having some far-reaching effects.  As to individual health and well-being, it’s been found that the more people spend staring at a smartphone screen, the more likely they are to suffer from anxiety and depression.    Sleep disruptions occur from sleeping with vibrating and flashing devices and fitness levels tend to suffer the higher the smartphone use.  Finally, we hear about tragic accidents on the road from people who text or stare at their phones while driving.   If smartphone addiction is impacting your life, there are several ways to break free.

Breaking Free from Smartphone Addiction

If you’re addicted to your smartphone, the solution for most isn’t to cancel your plan and chuck it in the dumpster.  Rather, you’ll need to find a way cut back on your usage and find healthier applications for the device that keep you engaged in the outside world.  It may seem ironic on the surface, but there is an App that can help you with your smartphone addiction.  Called “Break Free,” the App tracks how often you check your phone and your usage stats so that you can gauge your progress in cutting down on your phone usage.  The trick would be not to check the App too frequently.

Beyond tracking your use, consider moving away from some of the “social” Apps and towards the health and fitness Apps.  Also, make a commitment, to turn off your phone while in the car, keep your smartphone out of the bedroom, and engage in real “live” conversations instead of the virtual ones.

Hopefully reading this may make you more aware of just how often you’re checking your phone and the impact it can actually have on you. Just by reducing this down, you should hopefully be able to become a little more engaged in real life and reduce the times you stare back at that glaring screen.