This article by Markham Heid was originally published on time.com.
If you feel your smartphone is hurting your health or relationships, the answer may be yes.
You check it in the bathroom. You check it at the movies. You check it when you’re having dinner with your friends. But you wouldn’t say you’re addicted—and most experts would agree with you.
“Only a small percentage of people qualify as addicted,” says Dr. David Greenfield, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. “But many people overuse their smartphones.”
The line between overuse and addiction is gray. But Greenfield says you’re moving into addiction territory when you can’t stop using your phone even when it’s harming your life. Whether you’re in a work meeting or behind the wheel, “if you can’t help being on it even when you know you shouldn’t be, that loss of control is the hallmark of an addiction,” he says.
Dr. James Roberts is a professor of marketing at Baylor University and author of Too Much of a Good Thing, a book about smartphone addiction. He agrees with Greenfield’s definition, and lists a few more warning signs. Withdrawal is a big one. If you feel anxious, irritable, or uncomfortable when your phone isn’t within reach, that’s a red flag, he says. And if you seem to be on your phone more and more, that ever-increasing desire for a “dose” of
If you feel anxious, irritable, or uncomfortable when your phone isn’t within reach, that’s a red flag, he says. And if you seem to be on your phone more and more, that ever-increasing desire for a “dose” of smartphone is akin to substance abusers who build up tolerance to drugs or alcohol, he says.