Cell phone addiction is unfortunately something that effects people from nearly every country in the world. Today, a total of over five billion people worldwide own cell phones, so it comes without saying that there’s most definitely a percentage of those five billion people that are addicted to their cell phone. Unfortunately, it may not always be easy to spot when you or someone you know is addicted to their cell phone.
Some easy telltale signs of cell phone addiction can be when you or someone has difficulty completing simple daily tasks, such as cleaning or cooking, without checking their cell phone. Having this loss of concentration because of a cell phone is a huge sign, it shows that someone can’t even complete a short task without relying on their cell phone.
Other signs include someone sneaking out to the bathroom at work or school for the sole reason of checking their cell phone. This typically happens with teens in high school, as they excuse themselves from class to check their cell phones in the bathroom. Another sign common among teens is isolation from friends and family because they’re on their phone in the presence of them. Whether they’re bored, or simply feel like they can’t be off their phone, this is also another warning sign.
Most of all, some of the biggest signs are feeling like you’re missing out on something if you aren’t on your cell phone. This feeling of disconnect that causes anxiety or irritability is an important sign in detecting cell phone addiction within yourself and others. If you or someone feels as if their phone is apart of them and they simply just can’t be without it because of the negative feelings they get, then it’s more than likely that a cell phone addition has already been developed.
If these symptoms sound like something you or someone else may feel, it’s not too late to either get help or stop the addiction from forming fully. There are many ways to prevent becoming addicted or to get rid of an addiction. One of the most important factors in reducing the risk of cell phone addiction or getting rid of it is first admitting that there is a problem in the first place. If the problem itself isn’t acknowledged, it’s very unlikely that someone would be committed to making changes if they don’t think that a problem is there at all.
Once the problem has been acknowledged and admitted, the next steps depend on how the person would like to go about getting rid of the addiction. This could include having the device turned off at night to prevent being distracted by it while trying to sleep. This is an important one, as most people who have cell phone addictions report suffering from sleeping problems as well. More great choices to make include deleting apps and social media that isn’t beneficial at all to one’s mental health, turning off the audio notifications so there isn’t a need to rush to the phone every time it goes off, and just keeping the phone out of sight in general as this can help to get rid of separation issues.
Serious Negative Effects of Cell Phone Addiction
If you or someone you know is addicted to their cell phone, it may be difficult to realize the negative effects of it. Many people may just think that nothing is really wrong with it overall, but they don’t realize that there are in fact critical negative effects of being on your cell phone nearly every hour of the day.
1. Anxiety & Depression
What most people don’t realize is that having a cell phone addiction is actually a huge contributor to their mental health. Having such a dependency on a cell phone causes an anxiety when your phone isn’t around you; it makes someone nervous when they don’t have the option to check their phone every time they feel the need to.
A depression is also caused from a feeling of loneliness. Once an adult or typically a teen puts down their phone, they realize that the people online aren’t really there, and that they’re by themselves in their room or wherever they are. Realizing this feeling of disconnect also brings on a feeling of anxiety which is why it’s such an addiction and people keep going back to their cell phone.
It can be hard to understand that feelings of anxiety and depression stem from a cell phone addiction, especially in teens, so if you think your teen or someone you know is suffering from these mental conditions because of their cell phone, be sure to reach out to them and support them through this. It could be especially hard to separate themselves from their phone with these feelings.
2. Sleep Problems
As mentioned previously, sleep problems also tend to be a cause of a cell phone addiction as well. Exposing yourself to bright lights at night, especially having them so close to your face, will trigger your brain to think that it isn’t time to sleep yet. Bright lights almost act like caffeine to your brain when you’re in bed at night. A fact is that the lights from your cell phone can actually put off sleep for twice as longer than coffee and other caffeinated drinks can.
Not only does using your phone before bed put off sleep, but it also can be the cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders forming. When it’s nighttime and dark, our brains are triggered to produce melatonin naturally. When there’s a phone with bright lights in our faces though, our brains can’t register that it’s time to sleep so there’s a lack of melatonin produced, causing sleep problems over time.
It’s reported that over 50% of teens that spend five or more hours a day on their phone are more likely to have sleep issues and get less than the amount of sleep that they need. More than often it’s teens who have an issue with their sleep because of their cell phone, but adults can also be effected by this as well, seeing as the brain functions the same way.
3. Weight Gain
While this isn’t the case for everyone, a lot of people who have a cell phone addiction aren’t as fit or in shape as most people of their age group are. Sitting around on a cell phone all day doing nothing is very bad for your health and will only contribute to the negatives. It’s best to try to stay active rather than spend time on a cell phone. In fact, a great way to handle a cell phone addiction is to try to be more active and spend time working on yourself physically.
4. Attention Span
A decreased attention span is also another negative effect of having a cell phone addiction. This is evident in teens and students in school, in fact 67% of teachers state that their students are negatively distracted by their cell phones. An unsettling recent fact is that most humans living in today’s society now have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. While there isn’t an exact direct cause, a big contributor once again is the time spent on cell phones.
A reasoning behind the short attention span is the fact that news can be condensed into short Facebook posts, easy to read titles on Google, and just simple tweets from Twitter. This is where most teens and other young adults get their news from nowadays, so it’s no wonder why there’s been such a loss in attention span over the years.
Studies even show that the simple presence of a cell phone while trying to do other tasks can be greatly distracting. The urge to reach for it and check it multiple times while doing other activities is horribly distracting and even contributes to a loss in performance.
5. Back and Neck Problems
If someone is constantly hunched over their phone, staring down at their screen, they can easily start to experience lots of neck and back pain. In fact, many younger people now experience neck and back pain because of their extensive cell phone use. The pain they experience can be permanent, which is yet another reason it’s horrible to have a cell phone addiction.
6. Loss of Time
Unfortunately, an obvious effect of having a cell phone addiction is the amount of time that people lose daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Most don’t realize just how much time gets away from them while they’re on their cell phone. It may feel like someone is only checking their phone for a few minutes here and there every hour, but in the long run all of that time can add up and it’ll be too late once they realize how much time is lost.
A recent study shows that the average college woman spends about ten hours daily on their phone, and men spend around eight. This is a drastic amount of time, in a week that’s already a total of seventy or so hours wasted on being on a cell phone. Hours that could’ve been contributed to much more productive tasks, or even spending physical time with friends and family rather than being on social media or playing games on a phone.
7. Texting While Driving
A sad and unfortunate effect of having a cell phone addiction is one that takes lives. Texting while driving is something that shouldn’t even be happening, yet it still is because there’s teens and adults that just can’t wait to reply to a text or check a social media update until they’re safely parked somewhere. While not everyone who suffers from a cell phone addiction texts and drives, there’s still a large amount of people who do actually text and drive.
Texting while driving, or using a cell phone in general while driving, is what leads to 1.6 million crashes every year. In the United States, one out of every four car accidents is caused by someone being on their cell phone while driving. These numbers are crazy high and out of hand, and the only way to lower these numbers is to help people who feel the need to constantly be on their phone and texting. If people can’t get off their phone for even a short drive, then it’s clear that there’s a bigger problem that they’re suffering from which is more than likely a cell phone addiction.
8. Nerve and Eye Damage
Spending too much time on a cell phone can also cause effects that are more long term, which makes having the addiction truly so deadly. Someone with a cell phone addiction could develop something called occipital neuralgia, which is a neurological condition that compresses or inflames the nerves running from the top of the spinal cord through the scalp. People with this condition report symptoms similar to those with a severe headache or migraine.
The retina of the eye can also be damaged from staring at a cellphone screen for too long. Someone who spends too much time looking at their phone can actually experience loss of central vision, which is what’s right in front of your eyes. Most people who have eye discomfort actually believe that it’s caused by how much time they spend on their phone.
9. Social Effects
Lastly, and one of the more noticeable changes in younger people today, is how constantly being on a cell phone effects social skills and interactions. Teens and young adults may believe that having a cell phone is a great way to stay connected, but in fact it’s the easiest way to forget the basics of how to interact with other people normally. Studies find that more people are less present in social situations, simply if a phone is even nearby and not even in use.
If you feel like you or someone you know experiences a cell phone addiction, make sure to do whatever you can to get help for them or yourself. More than often it’s teens who have an addiction like this, so make sure to stay close with your child and help them if you feel they might suffer from these effects of having a cell phone addiction.