Smartphone Addiction – A Real Thing?

April 10, 2019 by Prasad Amore0

Smartphone Addiction - A Real Thing?

Smartphones are an indispensable thing in our daily life. But misuse of Smartphone can lead us to an addiction basically we can call this as Smartphone addiction. Medical health experts say smartphone addiction is real and need to take into consideration, with 2.71 billion users all around the globe, as it impacts negatively.  Smartphone addiction leads us to depression, loneliness, stress, disrupted sleep, lower work productivity, and even worse – the decline in wellbeing.

A group of psychiatry and psychology researchers from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil found that smartphone addiction can lead to poorer decision-making.  Another research team Caglar Yildirim from the State University of New York at Oswego and Ana-Paula Correia from the Ohio State University got a better understanding of Nomophobia – no mobile phone phobia.

Findings of Caglar Yildirim and Ana Paula Correia

Close up of an upset girl with tousled hair having a bad day on the phone

They developed 20 item nomophobia questionnaire for some undergrad students by a discussion with them Yildirim and Correia revealed some key themes

  • The fear to not able to communicate
  • Losing connectedness
  • Not being able to access an information
  • Giving up convenience

Researchers realized that nomophobia is a real thing – the fear of no mobile phone contact.

Research Carried out by Juliya Machado Khoury

smartphone addction

In frontiers in psychiatry shows people with notional smartphone addiction are high about 25% of the population in the US; 10% of adolescents in the UK; and 43% in Brazil.  Studies in several countries reported a high prevalence of smartphone addiction, especially on the university students the prevalence of Smartphone addiction on among on the young students is estimated 6% in Italy; 38% in Spain; 18.8%in Japan; 28.7% in the Netherlands; 44% in India; 67% in UAE.

Julia Machado Khoury at The Federal University of Gerais and her colleagues found that Smartphone addiction has caused negative consequences and functional impairments in students. Smartphone addiction affects their academic performance and sleeps quality.

smarphone user bad sleep

The research was conducted on that 47 graduate student’s age 18 to 25 high enough to qualify as have an addiction. Later researchers compared these students performance in 43 matched controls on widely used decision-making tasks. They compared the performance in the Iowa gambling task (IGT), a game of dice task (GDT) and skin conductance response (SCR).  Iowa gambling task is a psychological task to simulate real-life decision making.

Researchers make four decks contain some cards they have to make money much as possible by selecting the face-down card. Each card indicates whether they’ve earned or lost money. In the game of dice task, the participants have to make money through a series of a dice throw in which the rules and the probabilities of winning the different amount were stable and so predictable throughout.

Findings by Juliya Machado Khoury

game of dice

The participants who score more in a game of dice of task they were worse in the Iowa gambling task and greater severity of their purported addiction as indicated by smartphone addiction inventory result, the worse their performance the researchers says “the decision –making under ambiguity reflects more strongly the reality of daily decisions which are made without prior certainty of the probability of each outcome”

When researchers monitored the participant’s skin conductance data throughout they look for the change in fact. When they look at the responsiveness in receiving the rewards or punishment the Smartphone addiction shows lower skin conductance responsiveness before disadvantageous choices, and higher responsiveness after reward winning and lower responsiveness after punishments. The shows that Smartphone addiction has difficulty in recognizing disadvantageous alternatives, high sensitivity to rewards and low sensitivity to punishments.

Julia argues that the participants who score more in Smartphone addiction guided more by the search for reward than avoidance of the punishment. They added that this would help to maintain or maybe even wore their addiction, and helps in academic performance and worse the social relationships.

Julia and her colleagues say people who have a tendency to gain rewards over avoiding punishments may be more likely to develop smartphone addiction, which would make the tendency to addiction worse. We can notice that the new research gives no evidence for the worsening effect.


Focused Man Using Smartphone on Sofa at Night

Smartphone has become an inevitable part of everybody’s life.  The leading AdTech company -Gizmeon Inc in Los Angeles, California, which was specialized in mobile application development in 2016 says:  in 2016 the worldwide app revenue was only 61.9 billions US dollars, however, it’s expected to be 139 billion US dollar industry.  Another industry leader from the digital marketing world – MyHobbes says that it’s expected to mobile phone internet user penetration worldwide to be 63.4% in 2019.

Julia and her colleague’s finding say that smartphone addiction is genuine addiction. But their findings have some clinical implications long term use of a smartphone can develop emotional regulations, awareness of body signs postponement of rewards. But there effective ways to overcome this strategy including physical exercise focused attention on training, biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy these may help to overcome Smartphone addiction. The relationship with Smartphone is an unhealthy relationship prevent it before getting worse.

Prasad Amore

Prasad Amore is a Licensed Rehab. Psychologist by RCI, Govt. of India. The 2nd Indian who has achieved the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma through National Qualification Framework of British Government. He is a psychological consultant and trainer helping individuals suffering with mental health issues and other psychological problems. He is a freelance writer and authored 5 books in Psychology and Social Science.

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