Smartphone addiction is a growing problem, according to a new study conducted by Wind, Vision Critical – a Canadian cell phone provider. The survey revealed what Canadians would give up for their smartphones.
1500 Canadians participated in the survey, which revealed that a whopping 17 per cent would rather give up their pets, while 40 per cent would rather give up video games, 28 per cent would rather quit drinking, and 23 per cent would rather give up coffee.
“The response to pets was the most surprising,” said Alexandra Maxwell, a spokesperson for Wind. “I just didn’t see that coming, but I guess some people just love their phones more.”
“I’d feel pretty weird without my phone,” said Hanna Bellacicco, who wouldn’t give up her pet in exchange for her phone but would cut out coffee to stay connected. “It has to be near me. Even when it’s charging it has to be near me.”
University of Windsor psychology professor Ken Hart was surprised by the results of the survey and said it could indicate an addiction trend.
Hart defined addiction as a loss of control. “The person feels a compulsive need,” he said. “This overwhelming urge to engage in the behaviour is very strong, and the person is unable to restrain themselves.”
“[Addictions] cause your life to become smaller and narrower, because other activities in your life are being displaced by this,” said Hart. “Important life goals that you’re trying to achieve don’t get accomplished, so you start becoming unhappy.”
Mohsan Beg, clinical director at UWindsor’s Student Counselling Centre, has not yet encountered issues of smartphone addiction among students. “We do see some internet addiction,” he said, adding that patients typically have issues with video game use.
“[Students] engage in the technological world to escape the real world,” explained Beg. He said symptoms of depression are often tied to internet addiction and people often resort to escapism by playing video games to cope.
“The larger problem is being distracted … maybe they’re addicted to distractions,” said Hart. “On the other hand … feelings of depression and loneliness can be alleviated by the smartphone, which is an outlet for social engagement.”
Hart said he was unaware of a program to treat such an addiction, but said that he could see an increased need for one in the future.
A Pew Research Center study of 2,200 Americans in March 2011 indicates that about 10 per cent feel they use their phones too much, suggesting people are becoming aware of potential abuse.
“I use my smartphone every day,” said Allisa Oliverio, who admits to feeling like she’s addicted to the device. “Without it I think I’d be lost … It’s always with me; it’s always in my hand.”
But she said that she sets boundaries with her smartphone use, such as avoiding using it when she’s hanging out with friends, since she views that as rude behaviour.
Meanwhile, other countries are already struggling with smartphone addiction. According to the Toronto Star, South Korea has started a program to help children with their addiction to the Internet through various gadgets, including tablets and smartphones. The South Korean government estimates that 2.55 million of its people are addicted.
Quotes and the general information in this article are taken from http://cupwire.ca/articles/53955.
Image credit: Rogers Wireless