Show me anyone with a smart-phone and I will show you a worrywart who will pull their hair out with anxiety the instant they are separated from their gadgets.
From the latest models with superior features to the ones with the trendiest apps, smart-phones are undeniably a popular companion that takes up most of our lives. While these tech savvy phones have enhanced our access to information and have shrunk the world in time and space, they should also come with a health warning.
According to a new study by the International Journal of Information and Communication Technology, dependence on the internet leads to the development of web-dependence anxiety. With digital consumption increasing rapidly every year, many users exhibit signs of stress and anxiety when they do not frequently check their phones or if their ‘posts’ don’t get the positive response that is expected.
The study suggests that separation anxiety is just as real for people and their smartphones as it would be with someone in a relationship, although this problem is obviously one-sided.
The findings also revealed that smart-phone addiction is higher among females than among males. Depression, anxiety, and daytime dysfunction scores were higher among smart-phone users than regular cellular-phone users. “Some people find that their phones are a part of them,
“Technology tends to “overact” our brains, draining us of unfettered, daydreaming-type creativity,” says psychology professor Larry Rosen. Through his research, he’s discovered that if there’s a phone aroundÔÇöeven if it’s someone else’s phoneÔÇöits presence tends to make people anxious and perform more poorly on tasks. These effects become more acute among heavy users and people prone to checking their email and social media every 15 minutes or walking around with their hand tucked snugly around their phone.
Rodgers Moeng, a local doctor, says smartphones and anxiety are not mutually exclusive: “There is some form of connection, no matter how small it might be, whether we can establish a direct causal relationship or not. We are at a point where a simple ‘facebook like’ has obviously a positive effect in the limbic system, hence, it could be said that social media and smartphones do have an impact on the functionality of certain parts of the body.”
It is apparent that depression, anxiety, and reduced sleep quality may be associated with smartphone overuse. So, in the event that you find yourself overly anticipating a notification on your phone every ten minutes, or feeling ‘empty’ without your smartphone near you, you could be suffering from smartphone addiction and in need of a digital detox.
Limiting use and paying attention to other tasks of the day are some of the ways to curb this anxiety. Others include turning off notifications, deleting apps, hiding your phone while at work or school and only using your phone when necessary.