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The US study of 2,000 college students found ten per cent claimed to have a full-blown addiction to the gadgets. Eighty five per cent constantly checked theirs for the time, while three-quarters slept beside it – sound familiar?
A British counsellor, Peter Smith, recently reported a ten per cent increase in Brits seeking help for smartphone addiction at his clinic in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, and it is a problem which is becoming increasingly recognised within today’s web-addicted society.
With smartphones becoming more and more complex, you can now use your phone for just about anything internet related, not to mention all the games and apps which can be instantly downloaded and used at any given time. In fact, many parents frequently use their smartphones as a way of keeping their kids amused on a trip out – something I know I am guilty of.
From a driving perspective, the use of smartphones is strictly prohibited when behind the wheel and penalties for getting caught using a hand-held phone include 3 penalty points on your licence and a £60 fine, or in more serious cases, a court summons and disqualification from driving as well as a £1000 fine.
It has also been reported recently that smartphone users could be ‘risking their health’ with the overuse of devices. The BBC ran a story in June 2012 which detailed how the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy had discovered that overuse of smartphones, tablets and laptops outside of office hours was causing health problems such as back and neck pain caused by poor posture when using these devices.
With so many of us using our phones every day for excessive amounts of time, it’s well worth considering some simple phone etiquette to ensure that we don’t get too addicted. For example, making sure you avoid taking your phone to the table at mealtimes will hopefully make a difference to the quality time you spend with friends and family.
If your kids are allowed access to your phone, or have their own phone, make sure you restrict their usage, for example, suggest they have one hour when they can use their phone on a week day night providing their homework is complete and any other necessary chores.
Do not go to bed with your smartphone – many of us are culprits of late night web surfing which can not only keep you up much later than you should be, but is also a bit of a passion killer if you have a partner, not to mention antisocial!
So, next time you go out, consider switching your mobile off in favour of some good old-fashioned conversation – it worked thirty years ago, and times haven’t really changed that much, have they?