If your cell phone is taken away from you today, would you become more productive? Most likely. According to recent statistics, the average American spends around 2.8 hours on cell phones every day.

If we take this number as average and multiply it by the number of years the average American lives, the total time spent on the internet becomes 5.3 years. Can you imagine spending that many years of your life only looking at the screen? You can, because you, like most Americans today, are addicted to your cell phone.

Every day, the average American spends 2.8 hours scrolling down their social media newsfeed

The good news is, what’s done can be undone, and Catherine Price, who is a health journalist with multiple awards, has a few eye-opening revelations about cell phones that will make you question your usage of the device.

Test Whether You Have Cell Phone Addiction

There is a Test for Smartphone Compulsion available online that can reveal to you whether you are addicted to your cell phone. The test was designed by Dr. David Greenfield at the Centre for Internet and Tech. Addiction, which is part of the Connecticut University’s School of Medicine.

It has 15 yes and no questions, and, according to Dr. Greenfield, if you answer in the affirmative to more than 5 questions, you may have a problem with your usage of a mobile device. However, Price does warn that it’s impossible to own a cell phone and score less than 5 on this test, unless a person uses their cell phone only to make phone calls.

Do you “Phub”?

Do you constantly check your phone without any obvious reason?

Nothing too complicated. This refers to the habitual checking of the cell phone screen constantly without cause or reason. If you phub, you are addicted.

Social Media Is Supposed to Get You Hooked

If you are one of the many who check their social media apps after every few minutes to check for updates, be warned, you have fallen for the algorithm. These social media apps are engineered to keep you online for as long as possible, because the more time you spend on them, the more they earn through ad revenue. In fact, that is the mission of every app on your phone. However, social media apps are the biggest culprit.

Price describes the case of Instagram to elaborate her point. According to her, Instagram now reveals whether someone has liked a post exactly when the user is about to close the app, so to keep them on for a longer period.

Smartphones = Slot Machines?

Slot machines are infamous for giving out intermittent rewards: a reward after a hundred failed attempts. Price says that is what cell phones have become for us, as we check our cell phones constantly in anticipation of a reward, such as a text from a crush, or a like on one of our posts on social media. Just as people become addicted to slot machines, cell phone addiction is the same.

Cell Phones Have Brain-Altering Effects

Social media platforms are constantly exposing us to all types of information in a very short period of time

Price shows that digital media is very different from other forms of mediums such as a book. When we read a book, we are completely immersed and focused on just one subject. In contrast, when we use digital media, we are exposed to a multitude of information related to completely different subjects in a short span of time.

We are in a state of focused distraction, and that means that, although we are reading a lot, we are retaining very little information. However, price warns that this state of focused distraction can have permanent, brain altering effects, from having bad retention to crippled memory.

Did You Know That Tech Gurus Don’t Give Cell Phones to Their Kids?

Cell phones have a net counter-productive effect: it does more harm than good. The greatest innovators in the tech industry knew this fact and have shielded their children from mobile technology for the longest period of time. For example, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., did not let his children use the iPad, a product that is often given to children as a toy. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the richest man in the world, did not let his children use cell phones till the age of 14.

Children are prone to damage from brain altering technology more than adults, and although adults should curtail their usage, children should be kept far away from it for as long as possible.

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