It’s not just kids who love their gadgets: adults are rarely seen without a smart phone nearby. More than 80 percent of smart phone owners said they never or rarely turn their phones off according to the Pew Research Center.
However, Dr. Julie Broadbent studies the impact of excessive technology use at the University of Michigan-Flint and she’s not sure we can call our gadget habits an addiction just yet.
“There's significant overlap but also significant differences in the brain regions that are activated when someone is excessively using social media compared to someone who has a gambling problem or a drug addict but we need to do more research on these studies,” she said.
That being said, smart phones are definitely harmful for some people.
“Problematic smart phone use has a number of negative effects such as decreasing work performance, stress, anxiety, depression, interrupted sleep,” Broadbent said.
Broadbent offers a few solutions: putting your phone in a different room while you work.
“They can turn off notifications so they're not wanting always to respond immediately to every message that they get,” she said.
When it comes to technology and kids, Broadbent said parents should consider balancing tech time with real socialization.
“I think it's important to limit the number of time they're on social media or devices so they do get those face-to-face interactions so they are skilled in that area,” Broadbent said.
One more area to pay attention to according to Broadbent: texting and driving. If you just can’t help but check your phone while behind the wheel, it might be time to take action.
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