- The percentage of U.S. adults who use smartphones “excessively” has risen in recent years.
- Phone addiction happens because our brains are connected to mobile devices, experts say.
- Research has found that keeping your phone outside your bedroom can significantly improve sleep.
If you feel like you can barely take your eyes off your phone these days, you’re not alone.
Percentage of U.S. adults who say they use smartphones “too much” increased in recent yearsThat percentage rose from 39 percent in 2015 to 58 percent today, according to a new Gallup study. Experts say it’s because our brains are connected to mobile devices.
Smartphones “have the same chemistry in the brain as drugs and alcohol. Getting “likes” and notifications from our phones releases dopamine, which makes us feel good, and in turn, we want to repeat these feel-good behaviors, ” Melissa HueyAn NYIT behavioral science professor who studies the impact of smartphones on young people, he told Lifewire in an email interview.
“We create an addictive endless loop,” Huey continued, “and we keep looking at our phones to make ourselves feel better. But when we don’t get likes or notifications, we feel frustrated and alone. , which would have adverse effects.”
more screen time
Americans may say they use their smartphones too much, but nearly two-thirds believe their smartphones have improved their lives, 21% say it makes their lives “much better,” 44% Saying it’s “slightly” better. Gallup polls. This is down slightly from 2015’s 72% net gain. Only 12% said smartphones made their lives worse in some way.
The poll found that the most significant change in mobile phone habits is the use of smartphones for online shopping, from 11% in 2015 who said they spend more time on their smartphones than on their computers, compared to 42% today , an increase of 31%.
Matt WallertHead of Behavioral Sciences frogThe design firm, which works closely with Apple and many other tech giants, pointed out in email interviews that phones aren’t just addictive: they’re useful.
“A lot of what we misunderstand about cell phone addiction is just practicality — activities we used to do elsewhere (reading, playing games, interacting with others) are now mediated by our smartphones,” Wallaert added. “So we need to think about separating utility from addiction.”
make your time come back
Setting boundaries can help if you feel like your phone usage is out of control, Alexander BentleyThe CEO of mental health treatment center REMEDY Wellbeing told Lifewire via email. For example, Bentley says, try to keep your phone out of your bedroom, or keep your phone in a different room during meal times.
“Finding the balance by not always using the phone reduces dependence. It’s easy to become dependent when a phone can do everything,” Bentley added. “But finding alternatives is easy. Using a laptop or even a tablet for research or reading a paper book, rather than on a phone, can make a huge difference.”
Wallaert describes human behavior as a competition between promoting stress (making you more likely to do a certain behavior) and inhibiting stress (making you less likely to do a certain behavior).
“Find yourself using your phone a lot because you want to play games? It’s a facilitative stress, so deal with it with some inhibitory stress: use built-in features to limit the amount of time you can play games, move it to the last screen so you have to Swipe to get it, etc,” Wallaert added. “Using your phone instead of going for a run? The problem might not be with the phone – maybe it’s easier to run by setting up your shoes and scheduling a time on your calendar.”
Huey suggests putting away your phone. Keeping your phone outside your bedroom can significantly improve your sleep, she says. According to the Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans reporting that they keep their smartphone close to them at night has increased slightly, from 63% to 72%. Additionally, a new question this year found that 64% of people say they check their smartphone as soon as they wake up in the morning.
“Putting your phone away when you’re out with family and friends can improve your overall experience, which in turn improves your relationships,” Huey added. “It’s critical to be mindful of this at all times. Turning off notifications or using apps that limit your use can also help create restrictions when you’re carrying your phone with you.”
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