Sep14

Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

64% of Americans own a smartphone and rely on them heavily, but how much is too much?

Imagine a week without your smartphone. Doesn’t sound fun, right? No instant web searches, maps, messaging, phone calls, banking app, social media, camera and so on. The truth is, to many Americans their smartphone is their connection to the rest of the world. This isn’t only taking place in the US: in fact, the rest of the world is quickly mobilizing. Countries like Uganda and Senegal have adapted our mobile phone obsessions too.

With all this app reliance and status updating how do we know when we are crossing the border from casual mobile user to mobile addiction? The average consumer uses their phone for an average three hours and 40 minutes a day, according to USA Today in their interview with Simon Khalaf, senior vice president of publishing products at Yahoo.

This amounts to a 35% increase on last year, according to Khalaf. This upward trend could be because there is so much more to do on a smartphone since last year, or it could point to a much more disturbing trend.

Yahoo’s research was conducted by a mobile analytics company Flurry, whose research shows that globally there are 280 million “mobile addicts”. Khalaf states that “this is the mobile revolution.”.

Time spent online was mainly accounted for with the use of mobile apps at a whopping 90% and only 10% spent on web browsers. That doesn’t leave much time for calling home to mom does it? Within the 90% of app usage, 51% was spent on some form of social, entertainment or messaging applications.

With all this time spent on mobile devices, it’s hard to not notice that this time equates to major dollar signs. Global consumer spending on in-app purchases rose to $33 billion up from $21 billion in 2014. That’s a lot of extra lives in Candy Crush Saga! Khalaf told Yahoo that in the mobile industry “content is king again, and what is even more phenomenal is that people are paying for content.”.

Flurry’s numbers have shown that mobile addiction might be somewhat of a concern. So how can you tell if you have become too attached to your cell phone? Below are some of the warning signs you should look for:

  1. First and foremost, if you ever catch yourself texting, emailing or browsing social media while you are driving even though you are aware of the dangers, you might want to put yourself on a phone time-out, at least until you are no longer behind the wheel.
  2. Spending more than the average amount of time on your phone could be seen as a warning sign, especially if you find yourself neglecting important aspects of your life beyond the screen.
  3. Most importantly, if you are ever annoyed with the amount of time you spend on your phone, or by how panicked you feel when you are without it, then you might want to consider a short phone hiatus.

In reality, only we know how much is too much mobile time. It is unlikely that your smartphone will ruin your career, relationship or financial status as the word “addict” implies, but it has happened. Besides, it really doesn’t hurt to be aware of our habits, especially if they are taking place on a small screen.

If you are concerned about your mobile usage try out the BreakFree app. By downloading the application you can quantify exactly how many times a day you check your phone and how much time you spend browsing Facebook or sending SnapChats. The app will also allow you to set goals on the time you spend searching and tapping.

When your time is up a small character will pop into your screen letting you know that it’s time to look up from your screen for a while. If you notice that your usage is higher than you would like it to be you can designate specific “quiet times” that block calls and wifi, allowing you to focus on other things around you.  

How much time do you spend on your smartphone each day? Let us know on Twitter @Midphase

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