Smart Phones are addictive – where is the warning label?

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: You know this. I don’t have to tell you.  But did you know that 75% of people would interrupt having intimate relations to answer their cell phone whereas 8% would interrupt whoopee to answer their land line… if, indeed, they still had a land line!  That is an intrusive object! 


Smartphones are addictive and should carry health warning, say academics

University of Derby finds smartphone users in study spent average 3.6 hours a day on devices, often causing severe distraction from relationships and ”˜real life’
Using smartphones makes people narcissistic, a university study has found.

 Using smartphones makes people narcissistic, a university study has found. Photograph: WestEnd61/Rex

Smartphones are psychologically addictive, encourage narcissistic tendencies and should come with a health warning, researchers have said. 

A study by the University of Derby and published in the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning found that 13% of participants in the study were addicted, with the average user spending 3.6 hours per day on their device. 

The majority of participants said their smartphone use caused distraction from many aspects of their lives, including employment, hobbies and studies.

Co-author Dr Zaheer Hussain, from the University of Derby’s psychology department, said he was not suggesting the harmful effects were on a par with cigarettes or alcohol but that nevertheless the devices should carry a health warning.

“People need to know the potential addictive properties of new technologies,” he said. “It [the warning] could be before they purchase them or before they download an app. If you’re downloading a game such as Candy Crush or Flappy Bird there could be a warning saying that you could end up playing this for hours and you have other responsibilities [that could be neglected].”

The study examined the responses of a self-selected sample of 256 smartphone users who were asked about how they used their device as well as questions intended to establish their personality traits. 

Social networking sites were the most popularly used apps (87%), followed by instant messaging apps (52%) and then news apps (51%). 

Narcissism and neuroticism were linked to addiction and the authors suggest that smartphones can actually create the former in users. They point to the fact that 35% of people said they used their devices in areas or situations when they were banned (eg while driving), with many offering the justification that they knew better than the authorities who created the rules.

“Narcissism is a negative personality trait and if a person is spending a lot of time on Facebook or Twitter they’re more likely to display these types of traits,” said Hussain.
While 47% of people spoke positively of improved social relations, almost a quarter admitted their smartphones create communication issues in “real life”. These included less conversation and a breakdown in communication because of spending too much time on their device in the company of family and friends. Severe distraction from interpersonal relationships leading to a negative impact in familial communications was specified by 60 participants.

Hussain said that he is not anti-smartphones – he has one himself, which he uses mainly in the morning while having breakfast and in the evenings – but that addiction to them is negative. 

The study says: “If adverse effects of smartphones are well advertised, users might realise that despite using the device for improving communications, it can easily lead to narcissistic actions which can potentially breakdown familial relationships.”

Hussain said he intends to carry out more research on the subject in future, with a more diverse sample of people.

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