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Quiz: are you addicted to your smartphone?

Are you reading this on your smartphone? The chances are pretty high given the incredible rate at which Australians rely on their phones to consume content, make purchases and generally stay in touch with the world around them.

A 2017 study revealed that Australians checked their phones 80 million times more often than they had done in the previous year. Collectively, that’s a huge 560 million times per day, or individually, more than 35 times a day on average. Smartphone culture is also being widely blamed for increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress in our Millennial and Generation Z cohort. Which begs the question: are you addicted to your smartphone?

Are you at risk?

Before you start googling what is ‘normal’ smartphone usage, consider the results of a Deakin University study into problematic smartphone use. Recently published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, the study of nearly 400 undergraduate university students looked to uncover which personality traits put people at most risk of smartphone addiction.

Interpreting the results, Deakin lead researcher and psychology lecturer Dr Sharon Horwood believes one theory that may explain our over-dependence on smartphones is FOMO – our fear of missing out.

‘FOMO represents a desire to constantly stay online and connected via a social media platform,’ Dr Horwood says. ‘FOMO has been established as a significant risk factor for the development of problematic smartphone use.’

The study also found:

  • 40% of people surveyed felt lost without their phone
  • 34% lost sleep due to the time spent on their phone
  • 54% found themselves occupied on their phone when they should be doing other things, and it caused problems.

‘We can think of problematic smartphone use as someone who has started to use their phone compulsively and that compulsive use has started to impact their daily functioning. That could be their productivity, social relationships, physical health or emotional wellbeing.’

Worried that this sounds all too familiar? Take our quiz to find out if you should be concerned about smartphone addiction.

For more on this topic, find out: are smartphones truly harmful?

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Dr Sharon Horwood
Dr Sharon Horwood

Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Deakin University

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