Coyote Chronicle

Smartphone users, all brands, “disadvantaged” when phoneless

Smartphone users’ cognitive ability is impacted negatively when separated from their devices. 

According to valuetalk.com, University of Missouri researchers ran a study where they separated iPhone users from their phones and found that this caused a downturn on mental task performance.

Lead study author Russell Clayton suggested that the technological advances incorporated into the iPhone have contributed to the possibility that some people see their phone as an extension of themselves.

Clayton also mentions that being separated from phones will not only lead to separation anxiety but will also cause negative effects on a person’s physiological state.

This study was only conducted on iPhone users. It did not attribute all smartphone users.

The journal, “Personal and Ubiquitous Computing” published an article in 2011 that states people are not necessarily addicted to their phones but are instead addicted to the habit of constantly checking for updates.

This occurs as a cause of constant phone-use and is triggered by boredom.

USA Today reports that smartphone users continue to grow dependent on their phones and those numbers will continue to increase with the growing market of applications that allow you to shop and bank through your phone.

Phone companies are catering to this dependency by incorporating software that allows users to track their phone if they ever happen to lose or misplace it, reports USA Today.

Some may refer to people’s dependency to their phone as an addiction and others as an obsession. The Huffington Post distinguishes between the two stating that addiction means wanting to fulfill the need of a learned pleasurable experience while obsession is an anxiety-based disorder.

According to the Huffington Post the need for smartphone interaction is better defined as an obsession since we check our phones to reduce anxiety versus checking it to gain pleasure.

A Baylor University study found that female college students spent an average of 10 hours a day on their phone while male college students spend an average of eight hours a day on their phone.

According to a article in the journal “Computers in Human Behavior,” “18–24 year olds text and call the most— 1299 text messages and 981 call minutes, on average, per month. Texting drops precipitously in subsequent age groups from 592 to 32 texts per month.”

The study was conducted on a total of 164 students and they found that the more prominent activities smartphones are used for are texting, e-mailing, checking Facebook and surfing the Internet.

The Washington Post reports that 90 percent of Americans own a cellphone while 70 percent check their phones compulsively.

CSUSB alumni Jennifer Lakner said, “I totally do [depend on my phone]. Like no one ever calls me, but the moment I can’t have my phone for a few hours during the day I convince myself I’ve missed something really important.”

Lakner is referring to the phenomenon referred to by researchers as “FOMO” or “Fear of Missing Out.”

This information suggests that people are not only using their smartphones continuously, they are also becoming dependent on them.

Originally published on coyotechronicle.net (January 24, 2015) 

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