Home 2018 Collegiate Magazine Cell phone addiction

Cell phone addiction

Screenshot of cellphone use on a given day. Illustration by Tessa Osborne.

By Brittney Whitefield

While many of us cannot go a day without our phone, we tend to get defensive when someone accuses us of being addicted. As our society continues to change, our phones have become a major part of our lives. Most people don’t go anywhere without their phone and if they do, they feel uneasy and paranoid.

Have you ever thought you felt your phone vibrate, but when you pull your phone out of your pocket to check there are no notifications? This is called phantom vibration syndrome or phantom ringing syndrome. This is a very typical symptom of cell phone addiction. When you are constantly thinking about your phone, your body starts to trick you into thinking that you have a notification so that you have an excuse to look at your phone.

There are many reasons to always want to carry a phone, the number one being in case of emergency. iPhones have many emergency features such as medical ID, emergency contacts and the ability to call 911. These features give people a sense of security and safety. When their phones are taken away, the sense of security and safety are also taken away.

As time goes on, cell phone addiction is happening at a younger age. Children are given phones and tablets at such a young age, so it is only natural that they develop an attachment or addiction to something that is so prevalent in their lives. This comes with many negative side effects. Children who start cell phone addiction at a young age tend to be less social and start to rely on their phones in social settings.

“iPads and tablets have many educational apps that help them learn,” said Sarah Ochoa, a mother of three, from Royal Oak, Michigan. “While out to dinner, or other outings, it is easy to give them an iPad and let them play and be occupied for a while.”

While there are beneficial learning apps that children may use there are other negative effects that may outweigh the good. Those who rely on their phones in social settings can develop social anxiety and even depression when their phone is absent. Phones give people a sense of security in uncomfortable situations.

Many people check their phones in uncomfortable or boring situations. This then leads to the attachment to the phone which can then escalate to addiction.

“I see hallways full of students all on their phones,” said Tyler O’Neil, 26, of  Grand Rapids. “People see that others are on their phones and feel uncomfortable and obligated to also be on theirs, its kinda a vicious cycle.”

While there are studies that show the long-term effects of cell phone addiction such as arthritis and other physical issues, there are also mental issues that come along with cell phone addiction.

Being addicted to a cell phone means checking it at times even if it could affect your safety or the safety of others. People who suffer from cell phone addiction don’t think about the consequences of checking their phone while they drive. They are so reliant on checking their phone, that they do it without even thinking about all the negative events that could follow.

Nate Ringlein, 22, of Oxford, Michigan feels very strongly on the topic of phone addiction.

“I see people, teens and adults, on their phones all the time while they are driving,” Ringlein said. “This is a serious problem that many people brush off because they too are guilty of it and don’t want to admit it.”

There are many apps to help those with cell phone addiction. Offtime, Moment, Breakfree, FlipD, AppDetox, and Stay on Task are just a few.

Offtime is available to both iOS users and Android users. This app helps filter communication and has three different modes: work, family, and me time. Depending on which filter you choose it ensures you have access to what you would need but hides the unimportant notifications.

Moments is another helpful app only available to those on iOS. Moments shows you how much cell phone usage you have on your different apps and allows you to set daily limits on how much time you will allow yourself to be on each app. Once your time is passed you phone will force you off the app and will not allow you back on until the next day.

Whether it’s downloading apps or making personal changes it is important to ensure that we are thinking about the consequences of our actions. So the next time you’re driving and you hear your phone go off before you look down ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

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