Greg Morris

Smartphone addiction and me

I can feel it once again, the stirs of urges that are controlling my habits without any conscious thought. All the billions poured into research and development, all the hours of design and engineering are working. All simply to keep me picking up the computer in my pocket.

Although many claim these issues do not exist, I can tell you for a fact they do and I can feel it once more. The word addiction stirs up some powerful emotions. The thought of smartphone addiction brings with it the notion of someone weak that is simply not strong enough to put down the handset. It labels those as a sub class, with overtones of snark. Yet we are ALL those addicts.

Any moment of boredom and the hand reaches into the pocket and out comes the warm glow of pixels and hits of dopamine. For the last few months I have been aware of these effects, consciously fighting these feelings of behavioural addiction. It is only once you stop doing what is almost normal you can observe the behaviour of others around you. Much as a ex-drug addict can observe minute clues in those still fighting addiction, I can not only see the changes in others, but in myself.

Recent studies suggest the most compulsive behaviour we engage in has to do with cyber connectivity; 40% of us have some sort of internet-based addiction — whether it’s checking your email (on average workers check it 36 times an hour), mindlessly scrolling through other people’s breakfasts on Instagram or gambling online. — Fatima Bhutto, The guardian.

Since purchasing the iPhone X, I have been using my phone much more then I want to. I can feel the itch that others must feel. In order to justify my expensive purchase, and as well as enjoying a new purchase, I have been using it much more than previous phones. With thanks to unethical app design and a gloriously immersive screen, the behavioural addiction has returned.

I find myself reaching for my phone when I have no need to. The itch returns at ridiculous times and requires conscious thought to stop. My mind is simply reliant on having something to entertain me, even when there are many other options. I am not some weak minded person to be dismissed, although I feel that way. The only reason I feel these things is because I have broken the cycle once before. I must do again, and so should you.

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