Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “We are all connected.” While he further went on to define this connection as biological and chemical, seriously, one could now also add ‘electronically’ to the list. Since our cell phones are never very far from us, there is always the potential for addiction.
How does this affect us?
Dopamine, that feel-good chemical in our brains, is created by ‘likes,' new message and tweets in our iPhones.* A rush of dopamine isn’t unhealthy, but when the chemical stops, it can leave us craving more.
But, iPhone and screen phone time isn't an addiction unless compulsive behavior is also involved. Examples of compulsive behavior include the inability to have ‘dark time,' a period without a cell phone or other connected device. (See ‘Story of a Cell Phone Addict: Why I Quit Going to Church.’)
If the prospect of taking a weekend vacation without having an iPhone with fills a person with dread, there might have a problem.
If a user frequently hides in the bathroom of a restaurant or at a family gathering to read text messages or check your social media account, that’s compulsive behavior. (Although 33% of all users have admitted to doing this on a dinner date.)
Feeling more connected to the iPhone than to the family
We love family members, but sometimes their breath smells, or they leave the open mayonnaise jar out all night. An iPhone doesn’t do this. It’s always amusing, always engaging, and if a person goes into click-click-click mode to avoid the family on a regular basis, rethinking priorities might be in order.
If a user finds themselves spending hours of idle time following social media threads or texting instead of things they’re supposed to be doing, it may be a chance to rethink the iPhone use time.
To relieve stress or boredom
People who are bored or stressed will engage in behaviors such as sleeping too much or overeating. Other people will reach for their iPhone. Can 93 million Candy Crush players be wrong?
Physical symptoms of overuse
A cell phone addiction can result in physical symptoms of overuse such as bloodshot eyes, aching fingers or hands or carpal tunnel syndrome. When cell phone use sends a person to the doctor, that might be an indication that things have progressed beyond casual use.
Just as every person who plays Candy Crush isn’t an addict, every person who fits one of the above criteria is not necessarily an addict. The key point here in manageability. It isn’t so much a matter of asking if compulsive behavior is involved, it’s also intent.
The easiest way to answer this is to ponder your reply to the following question:
Do you own your iPhone, or does your iPhone own you?
If you think you have an iPhone addiction, please get professional help. You are not alone.
*If you enjoyed this blog post, please hit ‘like’ at the bottom of the screen. Thank you!
If you are in the Metro Phoenix area and have an iPhone with a cracked screen, speaker issues, charging port problems, a bad battery, button problems or any other type of repair, call iPhone Screen Repair Plus at 480-781-0060