Key indicators of smartphone addiction include moodiness, loneliness, and jealousy, as well as an obsession with physical appearance, adds the study conducted at University of Derby.
Study co-author Dr. Zaheer Hussain, a phychology lecturer, found that the more a person uses a smartphone, the higher the risk of becoming addicted to using it.
An immediate indication of addiction consists in reaching high scores of narcissism, which is defined as an excessive interest of admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.
Taking an excessive number of selfies and posting them on social media is a clear sign of addiction.
“A significant positive relationship was found between narcissism and addiction to the phones, suggesting that the more narcissistic a person is, the more likely they are to be addicted to their smartphone,” he said.
The study involved 256 participants and found that 13 percent of them were addicts, with an average age of 29 for those who were involved in online survey.
Consequently, researchers say the study unveils the need of making it compulsory for those selling smartphones to warn customers of potentially addictive consequences of using it.
“The study informs us about smartphone overuse and the impact on psychological well-being,” said Dr. Hussain. “We now use smartphones on a daily basis and for various tasks so being aware of the psychological effects is very important. There are various smartphone apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Candy Crush, as well as Skype and email that make smartphone use psychologically more attractive and can lead to addiction.”, he added.
Users used the smartphone 3.6 hours each day, and 35 percent of those surveyed reported they used the device even in areas designated as restricted to such use.
The post popular apps used included social networking sites with 87 percent, followed by instant messaging 52 percent, and news apps with 51 percent.
Even though 46 percent of participants indicated smartphones had a positive effect on social relations, almost 25 percent admitted real life situations were severely affected by the use of smartphones.
‘This study is a very timely one with much potential impact, and the findings show that users should be more aware of how they are using their smartphones and of the potential risks of excessive use,” said Professor James Elander, Head of the Centre for Psychological Research at the University of Derby.
Research also shows a blurring line between work and socializing as almost 30 percent of smartphone users take personal calls during working hours and make work related calls during their holidays.
In 2013, John Benson from Blackpool said his addiction to his smartphone led to him losing his job and relationship. His therapist, Steve Pope, said for some of his patients smartphones are ‘as addictive as cocaine or any other drug.’
The findings were published in the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning (IJCBPL).