Nomophobia, the fear of being without your smartphone, has become a growing problem with many people. Eventually, they become addicted to their smartphones where the phone becomes the most important thing in that person’s life. Just like other addictions, this can lead to relationship problems, impulse-control problems, and other issues.
One such issue is diminished interactions in real-life. While reconnecting with long-lost friends, classmates, and relatives that live far away online is great, you should not ignore your real-life relationships.
People addicted to smartphones tend to focus more on virtual relationships. They would rather strike up with a conversation of someone they have never met, then talk to their spouse sitting across the table from them at dinner.
Another problem that occurs with smartphone addiction is the development of other addictions, like cybersex and pornography addiction. This addiction is where one is more interested in the thrill of engaging in sexual content and experiences online, through text messaging, and video chat.
Cybersex and pornography addiction can also affect how one uses online dating apps. Instead of using the apps to look for a long-term relationship, they use them for quick hookups which could include engaging in risky sexual behaviors, like unprotected sex.
Additionally, people with smartphone addiction neglect other areas of their lives. They might not get sufficient sleep. Their productivity at school or work can suffer. They may even isolate themselves from friends and family, just so they can be on their phones.
Signs of Smartphone Addiction
The signs of smartphone addiction can and do vary. Yet, there are some common signs that could indicate addiction:
- Panic or anxiousness when the person does not have their phone.
- Hiding smartphone use from others.
- Becoming upset, angry, and irritated if asked to put the phone down.
- Inability to keep up with tasks and responsibilities at home or at work.
- A general sense of fear when one is not able to check their phone for updates and messages.
- Inability to stop using the phone in real-life social settings.
- Encouraging friends and family to text or instant message you instead of calling or visiting in person.
- Losing track of time because of spending too much time on the phone.
- Not getting sufficient sleep because there is a need to pick up the phone whenever there is an alert.
Treatment for Smartphone Addiction
The treatments for smartphone addiction are still fairly new. They often rely upon using similar methods used with other addictions, like individual counselling. Counselling is beneficial because it helps you identify the extent of your smartphone addiction.
Together, with your counsellor, you can determine if you have other co-occurring addictions, like pornography addiction, online gambling addiction, and so on. Counselling also helps you develop better smartphone use habits, like shutting the phone off when you go to bed.