• Patrick McAndrew

Blah Blah Phone Addiction Blah Blah

No one likes to admit that they have an addiction.  Addiction is usually equated with something negative.  Drugs, drinking, gambling, and all of the other wonderful things our world has to offer.  But phone addition?  “Oh!  That’s baloney!  What poppycock that is!”  Addicted?!  To my phone?!  Blah blah phone addiction blah blah!

It does sound ridiculous on multiple levels.  While excessive drinking and drugs are obviously not good for our health (like…they kill people…) and gambling just leads to a mess of financial issues, it is silly to think that those little screens in our hands can really do us any harm.  Though, one would argue, that is exactly why they’re so dangerous; because it’s very difficult to see the harm that they’re doing.

I have written a couple of posts in the past that detail how social media and smartphone usage actually rewire our brain.  Most recently, I read an article by Josh Hafner in USA Today titled “Are you addicted to your phone?  Here’s how to tell.”  In it, he talks about Edwin Salsitz, M.D., who is an addiction specialist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.  Dr. Salsitz (I keep wanting to call him Dr. Saltines) quotes, “Clearly something potentially damaging is going on with us in regards to screens.”  Hafner goes on to explain how all addiction starts with pleasure and the dopamine hit we get from texts, tweets, and Instagram likes creates a heightened new norm which, “unsustained, leaves us able to plunge into feelings of disappointment.”

When we begin to dissect this, we can begin to see the similarities to other addictions.  Sleeping with or in close proximity to our phones, withdrawals when not using them, and turning to our phones in times of boredom are all telling signs of our reliance to our devices.  Dr. Salsitz highlights how these tendencies could neurobiologically be considered an addiction.

I’m a firm believer that technology needs to be regulated to a certain degree so as to not create a reliance on it.  Use it as a tool; not as a means of fixation.  I’m reminded of that Simon Sinek video that went viral a couple of months ago where he talks about how our dependence on technology prevents us from learning important social mechanisms to communicate.  I think that video had millions of views because his message resonated deeply with people.  We must prevent these devices from sucking the joy out of our lives.  We must be mindful of the effects that excessive use can have.  Or else we will be led mindlessly into the never-ending abyss of the online world.

What do you think?  Is this something to think seriously about or am I being over dramatic?  Is phone addiction a real thing or is it nonsense to relate it to very serious addictions, like drug and alcohol addictions?  Let me know below!

Your pal,


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