My absolute best friend is addicted to her iPhone, or at least I think that she is. She will ask me a question as simple as “how were your classes today?” and in my answer I describe the good and the bad parts of my day. However, as soon as I finish my answer, I look to her for a response, and surely enough, she has completely ignored what I just said because she was texting. I used to think that she was just bad at multitasking, until I realized that it’s as if she cannot hear a single word I say when she is on her phone. Now, after being best friends for nine years, I have learned to wait to speak until she is not staring at her phone. While I have never asked her if she thinks she is addicted to her phone, I have made some sly comments about her cell phone usage to her. Each time I do, she just casually brushes it off and says something like “I love to text”, but I know that it is possible for her to be addicted.
According to PsychGuides, teenagers are the group that are the most likely to become addicted to their phones. Our generation is truly the first to grow up with such regular cell phone use, and the generations after us are being exposed to phones earlier each year. Our generation does not know what it is like to not have access to a phone at all times, and therefore, phones have become a kind of security blanket for teens. The use of social media is also another large factor that draws in teens, and is used daily by most. Teens become obsessed with seeing what their peers are doing because it is just one click away. The development of social media has been great in improving communication among people, however, it may be to blame for why teens are so susceptible to phone addiction (Psych Guides). (Image)
While the concept of cell phone addiction is fairly new, there are many symptoms that have been identified to describe a cell phone addict. One of these symptoms includes an increased amount of time using the device, in exchange for the same result achieved previously with less time. This symptom is similar to the notion of drug tolerance- the need to increase a dosage in order to be able to experience the same outcome. Feeling anxious or angry when you are unable to use your cell phone can be traced back to the symptom of withdrawal. Many addicts may feel deprived when they are experiencing withdrawal. Another one of the most common symptoms of cell phone addiction is being absorbed within the content on your phone, sometimes so much so, that you fail to acknowledge anything else going on around you. These symptoms are just a few of many that characterize cell phone addicts.
In addition to the psychological symptoms of cell phone addiction, there are also various physical effects that result from overuse of cell phones. Staring at the screen of a phone for two hours or more can lead to physical straining of the eyes. Eye strain is commonly characterized by irritated eyes, and sometimes a burning sensation occurs. Spending lengthy amounts of time on cell phones also leads to the increased exposure to illness breeding germs. According to an article published by South University, fecal matter can be found on the surface of nearly 17% of all cell phones (South University 2013). Besides a heightened risk of illnesses, Fnu Deepinder, Kartikeya Makker, and Ashok Agarwa found that the radiation released by cell phones can potentially decrease the sperm count of males (Deepinder, Makker, Agarwa 2007). The physical consequences linked back to too much cell phone use may not seem like a big deal, but they may be taking quite a toll on overall health.