Ever have the overwhelming urge to check your smartphone, even though it did not buzz and you were not expecting a message? This may be a sign of a smartphone addiction, and women are much more susceptible to it.
Women are especially vulnerable to the underlying conditions that are associated with smartphone addiction, such as depression and stress, according to a study published in Information Systems Journal.
Some of these conditions can cause women to become obsessed with social media, texting or online shopping. In fact, this addiction can become so consuming one in 10 women even use their smartphone while in the shower. Some even go so far as being on their smartphone during sex.
Researchers at the Binghamton University-State University of New York surveyed 182 college volunteers about their smartphone use. They divided the participants into groups depending on their smartphone usage. The groups were ‘thoughtful,’ ‘regular,’ ‘highly engaged,’ ‘fanatic’ and ‘addict.’
About seven percent of the participants were classified as ‘addicts,’ and 12 percent were labeled ‘fanatics.’ Due to their attachment to their smartphones, the people in these groups had problems in their personal and work lives. Overall, the women in the study were more likely to excessively use their smartphones.
“Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering,” said study author and Management Information Systems professor at Binghamton University-State University of New York, Isaac Vaghefi. “Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction.”
“This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom,” Vaghefi added.
Severe smartphone addiction, which causes workplace and social problems, could lead to depression, isolation and increased vulnerability to other addictions.
Currently, smartphone addiction is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), but Vaghefi believes things could change soon.
“While self-identified ‘addict’ users were in the minority, I predict technology addiction will increase as technology continues to advance and application, game and gadget developers find new ways to ensure users’ long term engagement with technology,” Vaghefi said.
Vaghefi suggests to seek professional help if you find that you’re using technology as a way to cope with guilt or depression. Other signs to pay close attention to and get help for include:
- Ignoring what’s happening around you in favor of what’s happening digitally
- Constantly check your smartphone, even if it does not ring or vibrate
- Becoming paranoid and anxious when you do not have your smartphone
Danielle Tarasiuk is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published on AllDay.com, Yahoo! Sports, KCET, and NPR-affiliate stations KPCC and KCRW. She’s a proud Sarah Lawrence College and USC Annenberg alumn.