Dialing up addiction

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Dialing up addiction

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Nomophobia, or cellphone addiction, has become a huge problem in people’s lives and most are not even aware of it. According to data from tech company GSMA, there were 5 billion mobile device users world-wide in 2017, and they predict that by next year, 75 percent of the global population will be connected by a mobile device. Brazil leads the world for the most smartphone usage with the U.S. following in third place.

While most people see their cellphone as a harmless gadget, the reality is that experts have seen a rise in depression and the risk of suicide in teens as a result of increased phone use. Taking steps to decrease usage and get out of our virtual lives is hard, but can be done by taking steps like turning off audio notifications, leaving your phone in another room and turning off your device at night.

The series of likes, follows and views we get on our Instagram posts, Snapchat stories and Tweets mean we don’t feel lonely and sad anymore right? Wrong. In many cases, our social media apps act like drugs. We get a fix of attention, feel good, and repeat when the short term effects wear off. This makes us feel like it’s curing our loneliness and bringing us closer to those around us, when in actuality our seclusion keeps us from forming real bonds that matter. There has even been studies that suggest that taking a break from social media platforms like Facebook boosts our psychological well-being.

As the years fly by, so does our attention span. Since the first iPhone was released in 2007, our attention spans have shortened due to apps like Instagram because our brain has been trained to get information within seconds of our constant scrolling, causing us to have a shortened attention. A study conducted by Microsoft concluded that our attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds and has now decreased to 8 seconds, which is said to be lower than a goldfish’s. This isn’t entirely due to user error, but how our favorite apps are built to reel us in time after time. Think of apps like Facebook as a casino of instant gratification that results in our body making dopamine, dopamine is a chemical our body produces that makes us feel happy, excited and motivated. So whenever we get “positive” attention, for example the like button, our body pumps it into our system which causes us to actively seek out what’s causing the release and going after the effect it causes, which is what makes us continue staring at our screens like an addiction.

Even though leaving behind your social media profiles for even a few hours or days seems like a terrifying feat, it’s important to take a break from the constant movement and maybe even pick up a few new hobbies that allow you to step away from all of the screens we fill our days with. I promise you the world will still be there when you get back, and hey, you may even find you enjoy the break.

To check out our editorial on our expericence with cellphone addiction, click the link!



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