It's been 10 years now since the smartphone age began. Many of us feel like we can't do without them. Are you addicted?
Here's a short checklist of things that will determine if you are...
- Am I too preoccupied with the device? “Can I put the phone away for two hours and not think about it? Can I go to sleep without the phone in my bed?” Salsitz said. “Can I wake up in the morning and brush my teeth without checking my phone? The answer to those will be ‘no’ in people likely have an addiction to their phones.”
- Can I put the phone down for a while? “At a restaurant, I’ll see four people at a table not interacting, just looking at their screens throughout the meal. If they put it down, they pick it (right) back up. If that’s a persistent behavior, then the word ‘addiction’ would be neurobiologically appropriate.”
- Do I get withdrawals when not using it? “If I take the phone away form you, are you going to fear irritable, like you're missing something, like you have to get the phone back because you haven’t checked it in 10 minutes?” he said. “We can have a withdrawal, like you experience with opiates. It’s not a physical withdrawal, but it’s an emotional withdrawal.”
- Am I hiding my phone usage from others? “People who are addicted know it’s a problem,” Salsitz said. “The way you can tell that they know is they tend to hide it … they might go into their room to use a screen rather than doing in a room with other family members.”
- Do I use my phone when bored or depressed? People eat, drink and smoke for the same reasons, Salsitz said: “If that’s what’s happening, that’s not a good thing. It’s very dangerous. Because you’re having negative emotional states and you’re thinking this is going to be the answer to your problem, which it will never be. You’ll keep getting in worse and worse state.”