Are more Americans becoming addicted to their cell phones?
According to an opinion article on CNN, the answer to this question is “YES!” The piece goes on to compare cell phones to cigarettes and notes that on average adults (ages 18-25) check their cell phone at least 74 times a day.
Potential Signs of Cell Phone Addiction
By answering the following questions, you can distinguish if you’re addicted to your cell phone or not:
- Do you consistently check your phone first thing in the morning and the last thing at night before you go to bed?
- Do you take your phone with you when you go to the bathroom?
- Do you text, tweet, or email the people in your life more than you actually talk to them face-to-face?
- Has the amount of time you spend on your cell phone been rapidly increasing?
- Have you ever left a class or meeting specifically for the purpose of answering a call or text message that wasn’t urgent?
- Even though you know it’s against the law, have you ever texted, emailed or tweeted someone while you were driving?
- Does the prospect of being without your phone-even for a short time-make you feel uneasy and anxious?
- When you realize that you accidentally left your phone at home do you turn around and go back to get it-even if you know it’s going to make you late for work or school?
- At meal time do you keep your phone right next to your place setting?
- When you’re extremely busy and your phone rings do you feel compelled to answer it regardless of what you’re doing?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions you could be addicted to your cell phone. A different CNN article from 2017 wants you to know you're not alone in that.
According to the article, a growing number of global citizens are developing nomophobia or "NO MObile PHOne phoBIA". This is a 21st-century term for the fear of not being able to use your cell phone or other smart device.
is A Cell Phone Addiction a Bad Thing?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mobile phone use is partially to blame for the distracted driving that kills an estimated nine people each day and injures more than 1,000.
Furthermore, a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center said nearly half of US adults admit to reading or sending text messages while driving. Even worse, nearly one in three 16- or 17-year-olds said they have texted while driving.
Negative cell phone habits don't just stop there. A study of pedestrians in midtown Manhattan found that 42% of those who entered traffic during a "Don't Walk" signal were talking on a cell phone, wearing headphones or looking down at an electronic device.
Getting Help for Cell Phone Addiction
PsychCentral recommends a few quick tips to help better cope with cell phone addiction such as:
- Monitor your cellphone usage
- Practice turning off your phone for extended periods of time
- Wean yourself off of the device
- Commit to being in the moment
If you prefer to work with a professional, consider reaching out to Hopewell Counseling Center at the Hawks Center for Well-Being.