The luxury of our unlimited access to our mobile phones have great rewards—immediate emergency contacts, 24/7 connectedness, and peace of mind knowing that everything you ever need to know is right at the palm of your hands. But every good thing has a down side, and with the ability to remain in touch any time or day comes heightened opportunities for anxiety and addiction.
To put things into perspective, let's look at the 2017 case study "Mobile Phone Usage and Addiction Levels Among Business Professionals."
A Dependent Generation
Researchers used a professional networking site to survey white-collar workers across the globe in order to better understand their mobile phone habits as well the psychological impact of their phone usage. Here are some highlights from the survey:
60 percent of respondents rated themselves as "moderately addicted" to their mobile phones, 20 percent claimed they were "highly addicted." Less than 5 percent of the group could to claim that they perceive themselves as not addicted at all.
The most addicted professionals were between 35 to 49 years of age and rated themselves (on a scale of 1 to 10) with an average of 6.45 level of addiction
When people were asked how they felt without access to their mobile phones, 36 percent said they felt somewhat anxious, 13 percent said they felt highly anxious, and 5 percent said they felt completely miserable
How Connected Are We, Really?
For the majority of us, we’re probably not attached to our phones as much as we are to instant gratification. We’ve become so accustomed to having social networks, work platforms, and friends on hand that to be without these connections for a period of time may be detrimental to our lifestyles and even our careers.
This brings an important question though—why do we enjoy being attached 24/7 to a device that drains us of energy and time, taking us away from present moments? These findings demand our investigation into the growing prevalence of mental health disorders such as ADHD, ADD, depression, anxiety, and OCD in the United States and other technology-driven nations.
With the rise of virtual hangouts replacing real-time ones, like increasingly popular live-streaming platform Twitch’s “Social Eating” channel where people from around the world log on to watch others eat food, we have to begin asking ourselves: Are we feeling more disconnected to ourselves and each other because of our 24/7 online culture?
It’s Never Enough
In the same study, users also reported checking their phones an average of 4 to 5 times per hour. As an avid phone checker myself, I can say for certain this habit feels like a mindless, default setting with which I’ve been programmed to do. For me, these results have been a rude awakening. I've felt insecure, lonely, and disconnected because of my own personal issues, and instead of filling myself up with love, support, and life-living, I’ve gone to social media.
Unfortunately, phone addiction isn’t isolated to professionals—it’s a culture epidemic that is creating generations of attention disorders and mental limitations. Just like with any good thing, balance is everything.