A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health confirms that those who excessively use smartphones exhibit less self-control, have behavioral difficulties which impact wellbeing, and have reduced cognitive skills.
Smartphone facts and figures
Smartphones took off in 2007 with Apple’s launch of the iPhone, but by 2009 a new industry had been created, which has had a revolutionary impact on our way of life and everything we do today.
The use of smartphones has been growing exponentially, and this is forecasted to continue. According to Statista, in 2021, sales for smartphones reached 1.43 billion smartphones, and this will increase to 1.7 billion by 2027.
There is a long-standing view that smartphones are a source of addiction. Dr. Nicola Kalk from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, argues that it is unclear as to “whether the smartphone itself that can be addictive or the apps that people use.”.
What is certain is that most people experience a fear of being without their phone, “nomophobia” or “NO MObile PHone PhoBIA”. Currently, this phobia is not recognized as an actual disorder despite many researchers arguing for its inclusion.
For the study, they recruited 111 participants from 18 to 65 years old, of which 78% were workers, and the rest were college students.
The researchers accessed smartphone usage before the study and at different intervals during the study using scales including the Smartphone addiction scale-short version (SAS-SV), Fear of missing out scale (FoMOs), Procrastination scale, and Psychological General Well-Being Index.
The study reports on three key areas: Self-control, reduced cognitive skills, and wellbeing.
The study found that those with high levels of smartphone usage exhibited less self-control, which is linked to behaviors such as withdrawal symptoms, mood changes, and cyberspace-orientated relationships. Using technology to connect to people and falsely trust these relationships due to an element of anonymity was problematic and led to poor self-regulation.
2. Deficiencies in cognitive tasks and memory
Study participants’ reaction times were measured. Those with higher levels of smartphone usage exhibited slower reaction times in both the visual and auditory tests. Participants with high-level use also had impaired memory and reduced motor responses. Those who had low levels of smartphone usage exhibited few procrastination behaviors.
The participants who had a low usage of smartphones did not have a fear of being excluded or of missing out (FoMO). They were less likely to worry about this than those with problematic smartphone usage (PSU). These individuals rated higher on the quality-of-life scale and rated their wellbeing scores better than those with a higher level of smartphone usage.
The study concluded that people with “high levels of addiction show procrastination behaviors and fear of being excluded from the flow of information online and, moreover, have worse perceptions of their own wellbeing and quality of life than participants with low levels of addiction.”
There is no doubt that excessive use of your smartphone does impact your wellbeing but what is surprising is that we now know that it can also increase procrastination and reduce your reaction times and impair your memory.
My Mind News would like to hear from you. Does your smartphone usage correlate to a lack of self-control, cognitive tasks, memory deficiencies, and reduced well-being?
Let us know your thoughts on this matter in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!