In the age of technology and communications, there is one phenomenon that worries mental health professionals: more and more people are addicted to mobile, Completely “blocked” on your smartphone.
We can see them absorbed in their daily life, their messaging via WhatsApp, without being able to remove the view on the screen. This causes them to constantly check if they have any new notifications which prevents them from enjoying daily activities as they always have a part of their mind waiting for the positive reinforcement that social media or apps give them. It’s called FOMO syndrome, as described by psychologist Jonathan Garcia-Allen.
What is mobile (cell) addiction?
Mobile addiction is more and more common and is a sign that we are increasingly dependent on technology. Some people don’t make rational and positive use of them, but end up having an addictive relationship with gadgets. This addiction is sometimes known as the neologism nomophobia.
This addiction can lead to serious problems and discomfort.
Some of the symptoms and signs that may indicate that you are addicted to your cell phone (Or cellular, as it is called in Latin America), are:
- The affected person is not able to eat, have a conversation, work or perform enjoyable activities without frequently checking whether they have texted or called them via their mobile phone.
- They can’t sleep if they don’t have their smartphones on.
- They frequently wake up to check their cell phones for new messages or calls.
- They regularly check the WhatsApp status of their friends and family.
- They become anxious or sad if they lose or forget their cell phone.
- They feel restless, anxious, or upset if their battery drains.
- Too often they check to see if someone has texted or called them. They are also the target of any notification on their social networks.
Consequences and effects
There are a number of negative consequences stemming from cell phone addiction. These negative effects can be classified into several characteristics.
When it comes to addiction, it can be linked to states of anxiety and compulsion. When a person forgets their cell phone at home, for example, they feel like they are missing something, they feel in secrecy and this can lead to anxiety and discomfort. Specifically, this discomfort has recently been conceptualized as techno-stress.
The tendency to check your cell phone every few minutes can be seen as a constraint. It is a behavior, an acquired habit which is not adaptive or which gives us something positive, but which the addict cannot avoid.
3. Deterioration of personal relationships
There are also negative effects of mobile phone addiction linked to the deterioration of interpersonal relationships.. Many experts point out the paradox that in the historical era when we are more connected to other peoples and cultures, we suffer more from the effects of loneliness, isolation and misunderstanding.
We’ve all noticed that dating with friends has changed over the past decade. It is almost unthinkable that friendly talks are not constantly interrupted by one of the friends, who cannot stop checking his cell phone, answering messages, calls …
It is even possible to observe how, in a group of friends, everyone pays more attention to their cell phone than to the people in front of them. This type of collective autism makes us not appreciate the interactions in person, because we are in multitasking mode and pay attention to the smartphone, which ends up distorting the meaning of the meeting, generating frequent pauses, and therefore not letting ourselves be flow and maintain a fresh and dynamic conversation.
In another old article by work psychologist Jonathan Garcia-Allen published in Psychology and the mind we are talking about workers’ presentism. This phenomenon occurs when a worker goes to work but, for some reason, spends a large part of the day on matters unrelated to his tasks.
One way or another, mobile phone addiction is causing a similar phenomenon in interpersonal relationships. Our friendly or romantic encounters are clouded by constant interruptions. It changes the magic and uniqueness and irreplaceable character of every interaction.
The image we showed with this attitude is very negative. We normalized it, but we stop to think for a second: what would it be like if someone we were staying with constantly lost attention to us to look at another individual sitting several feet away, or on a screen. of TV? We would probably hold on for a few minutes, until we got angry and left the place.
Of course, there are people who don’t have a bad habit of checking their cell phones while eating or going out for a drink with a friend. This must be thanked. And, of course, they deserve our respect and that we stop acting by dividing our attention between real conversation and virtual conversations. It’s a matter of respect, politeness and valuing the other person and offering our full attention. Your time is just as precious as ours.
- Davey S, Davey A (2014). “Assessment of Smartphone Addiction in Indian Adolescents: A Mixed Method Study for a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Approach”.
- Gibson, E. (2011). Smartphone addiction: a growing obsession with gadgets. Available at: USA Today.
- Jonathan KJ (1998). “Internet addiction on campus: the vulnerability of students”. Cyberpsychology and behavior. 1 (1).