Do you suffer from any of the following feelings?
I would feel anxious if I could not use social media/Google/cell phone again.
When I post an update/do a search/end a call, I immediately feel inclined to update again/do another search/make another call.
Even when I am not using social media/Google/my cell phone, I am thinking about it.
When I don’t have access to social media/Google/a cell phone , I am anxious that I might miss an important update/forget trivial facts/phone call.
When I am in a bad mood, I feel that using updating my status/clicking I’m feeling lucky in Google/using my cell phone can improve my mood.
I feel nervous when I cannot login/connect to the internet/get a cell phone signal.
If you answered yes, then chances are you have some kind of dependency…perhaps on virtual contact with people you only know online, the need to have access to instantaneous information or the ability to be called and make calls anywhere at any time of the day or night. Whether or not anyone can actually be addicted to technology is a matter of opinion and divides medics and researchers. Addiction can be so loosely defined, but is compulsive or repeated behavior a sign of addiction? Is there anything wrong with wanting to be in touch 24/7 or to have access to the world’s information whenever you need it?
A new study from researchers in Korea and the US suggests that people who lack self-control are most
likely to have compulsive anxiety, specifically regarding mobile phone use. Impulsive individuals will, the study suggests, fail to resist using their mobile phones “excessively” to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. Levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy (or ability to get things done) do not seem to correlate with mobile phone anxiety, the team found.
Mobile phones provide connectivity, this is increasingly so with the advent of the smart phone. Estimates from 2010 suggest that there are 4.6 billion active mobile phones worldwide, almost 300 million of those in the US alone. Those figures are likely to be much higher by the end of 2011. However, it strikes me that we could redefine many parts of our lives as addictions if looked at in this way. Yes, people are anxious if they don’t have their phone with them, but equally so if they forget the door keys or wallet. There are also those people who use their mobiles to the detriment of real-world connections, but the same might have been said of the man on the Clapham omnibus hiding behind his daily paper, or the businesswoman completing The Times crossword on her daily commute. Are either of those people addicted?
Hyoungkoo Khang, Hyung-Jin Woo, & Jung Kyu Kim (2012). Self as an antecedent of mobile phone addiction Int. J. Mobile Communications, 10 (1), 65-84
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