Another “Duh!” study shows that people start to feel lonely and isolated when they spend all their time with an inanimate object, in this case, smartphones.
The study, conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University, compared smartphone addiction to opioid dependency, with both having equally negative effects on the mind and socialization of the individual.
“The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief — gradually,” explains Erik Peper, co-lead author of the study and professor of health education at the school.
The businesses that benefit from smartphones make the situation worse, routinely developing apps designed to keep people’s attention for as long as possible. “More eyeballs, more clicks, more money,” comments Peper.
Researchers conducted the study by surveying 135 students at the university regarding their smartphone usage. Not so shockingly, the students who reported using their smartphones the most said they felt greater feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. More from StudyFinds:
Peper and his team theorized that the loneliness increase is due to the replacement of face-to-face interaction with screen-based interaction, which often cuts off forms of simultaneous communication such as body language. The researchers also found that those who used their smartphones the most were constantly multitasking when doing things like studying, eating, or watching other media. The constant activity allows little time for the body and mind to relax and regenerate, and causes what the researchers called “semi-tasking,” in which the students performed several tasks at once, but did them all about half as well as if they did them one at a time.
Peper did not point the blame strictly at the smartphone users but rather app makers who allegedly use “the same neural pathways that humans have to warn them of danger.”
“But now we are hijacked by those same mechanisms that once protected us and allowed us to survive — for the most trivial pieces of information,” says Peper.
Peper suggests regulating phone use by turning off most notifications and limiting email and social media to certain times of day.