*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.
New research suggests the convenience of smartphones can facilitate overuse and addiction. San Francisco State investigators suggested many users are also addicted to the constant pings, chimes, vibrations and other alerts from our devices, unable to ignore new emails, texts and images.
As published in the journal NeuroRegulation, Dr. Erik Peper, a professor of health education, and Dr. Richard Harvey, an associate professor of health, state that overuse of smart phones is just like any other type of substance abuse.
“The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief — gradually,” Peper said.
Moreover, an addiction to social media technology may actually have a negative effect on social connections.
In a survey of 135 San Francisco State students, Peper and Harvey found that students who used their phones the most reported higher levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious.
The researchers believe the loneliness is partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals cannot be interpreted.
They also found that those same students almost constantly multitasked while studying, watching other media, eating or attending class. This constant activity is problematic as it allows little time for bodies and minds to relax and regenerate.
Peper explains that the behavior also results in “semi-tasking,” where people do two or more tasks at the same time, but half as well as they would have if focused on one task at a time.
Peper suggests turning off push notifications, only responding to email and social media at specific times and scheduling periods with no interruptions to focus on important tasks.