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Cell Phone Addiction: Human Interaction at Stake

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Since the introduction of cell phones, the use of phones have come into question whether it’s usage could lead to an addiction. Day by day technology is taking over our lives and we don’t even realize how serious this can actually be. Our phones, computers, tablets and other forms of technology have become not just an object but our best friend and something we solely depend on. Research has been done on cell phone usage and its impact on all of us for so many years. It is not a new issue at all, but the increasing trend of cell phone addiction and how it affects our health is the big overall issue.

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Cell phones. Something society all know of and has been essential to their daily lives, but are people overusing their cellphones to the point where it becomes an addiction? Also, is this form of technology affecting human communication? We are now calling this term Nomophobia. A phobia is an extreme fear of something. “Nomophobia is an abbreviation of no-mobile-phone-phobia, which is also called cell phone addiction”. In simpler terms, nomophobia is the fear of being without your phone. Some symptoms that are included in nomophobia are experiencing anxiety over losing a phone, constantly checking for emails, text, and calls, using a cell phone in inappropriate settings (business meetings, bathrooms, church, etc.) , and missing out on face to face interactions. While cell phones have its good benefits of connecting people from around the world, cell phone addiction is real because people are obsessively using their cell phones and it has affected our human interaction.

Today, it is estimated that more than 5 billion people in the world have cell phones and over half of the connections are smartphones. In some recent studies it has shown that “Fifty-eight percent of smartphone users don’t go more than an hour without checking their phones. Every morning you’d expect when someone wakes up they’ll tell whoever’s in the home good morning, or go straight to the bathroom, but “Eighty-nine percent of individuals reach for their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up” and would probably spend at least thirty minutes to half an hour using their phone before actually getting up and starting their morning routine. There are even times when people know a phone is not ringing or anything and they will still check it constantly to see if they missed any calls, emails, text, or any other notification. Sixty seven percent of people find themselves in that same situation. There is always an appropriate time and place to use a cellphone, and there are certain settings where a cell phone can be extremely distracting and people still have a habit of using them in these places. Statistics show that “Nine percent adults have used their phone during sex , Thirty-four percent used their phone in a movie theater, fifty-five used their phone while driving which is extremely dangerous and is against the law, and nineteen percent have used their phone during church”. The cell phone is not the problem, it’s the person’s behavior and obsessive usage.

A person’s obsession with technology is likened to an addiction. The way the phone makes individuals feel is a feeling like no other, it’s kind of like a virtual home. Cell phones make people feel connected, accepted, and engaged. It distracts people from the drag of the real world. Studies have shown that “levels of dopamine, the same happy chemical often released by food, sex and drugs increase in the human brain after a phone beeps or ring”. Dr. Ashely Sens, a pediatrician at the Dignity Health Medical Foundation Davis Care Center stated “Too much screen time can deprive us of much needed interaction with other humans as well as with the world around us”. Too much cell phone usage can actually hurt people not only mentally but physically. Neck pain, tired eyes, and headaches are just some symptoms of physical pain from spending hours on your cell phone. “Looking down at a phone puts about five times as much pressure on the neck as not looking down, according to a 2014 study from Surgical Technology International” Studies have shown that the neck already carries about twelve pounds just from holding up your head so when it flexed at a sixty degree angle it’s carries to as much as sixty pounds. Looking down at a screen can lead to accidents and not just car accidents. “Fifty-six percent of people have said they had accidentally tripped or bumped into another person because they were distracted by their phone.” Overusing a cell phone can also lead to obesity and trouble with sleeping. Sens, of Dignity health suspects that many of her young patients’ sleeping troubles are related to looking at their phones and iPads right up until bedtime, which leaves them unable to wind down.

It’s the middle of the night and someone reaches for their phone. They innocently tell themselves they just want to check the time. It’s still dark out so they will for sure go back to sleep, but before they know it, muscle memory takes over and they find themselves checking their emails, social media, text, calls etc. This has become a habit that is out of their control now. “The percentage of smartphone users who would actually be classified as addicted is estimated between [ten-twelve]%”, according to the director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, Dr. David Greenfield. 

Cell Phone addiction isn’t classified as an official diagnosis, but it has almost the same effect as a gambling addiction. Cell phones can be compared to a mini slot machine. Cellphones, just like slot machines, operate a variable reinforcement schedule. Every once in awhile someone gets a “reward” like a text, call, or a social media notification, but they never know when they’re going to get it. That is the same reinforcement a slot machine has. Each of these “rewards” triggers a dopamine release. Dopamine is a hormone associated with happiness and serotonin regulates our mood. “It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activity or occupation”. Alot of apps are counting on that drive to keep people constantly checking their phones. Social media apps that include things such as likes and comments so we get them in an unpredictable pattern and check our phones more.

An addiction is a combination of two things. One it involves abuse or dependency on a substance or behavior that is beyond control and two it’s impacting people’s lives in a negative way, whether it’s work , school, or social relationships. Symptoms may include increased tolerance. Needing more time on a cell phone, updated technology or new apps to get a fix. Another is withdrawal. Feeling uneasy, ill, or anxious when they are away from their phone. Also mood changes. Using a phone to change one mood or state of mind. A person’s stress level will dramatically increase, their mind and body constantly remains under stress due to the habit of checking your phone. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest symptoms. Keeping a cell phone next to or on their pillow and constantly checking does a lot of damage to one’s sleeping schedule. When a person uses their phones at night, melatonin mistakes the light from the phone for daytime. As a result, it’s hard to sleep which causes sleeping disorders including insomnia.

Cell phones are slowly altering people’s brains. It messes with concentration, memory and more. “There is evidence that delegating thinking tasks to our devices could not only be making our brains sicker but lazier too. (Business Insider)”. The more tapping, clicking and social media postings and scrolling people do, the ‘noisier’ their brain signals start to become. “Researchers found that there is actually a link between relying on a smartphone and mental laziness.” For a phone, that energy carries information, in the form of calls or texts between phones and cell phone towers. That radiation can travel into people’s bodies as they use their phones. And some of its energy can be absorbed by the body. But, scientists have not shown that radiation from phones causes harm yet. As cell phones have become prevalent in modern society, some people have a significant issue with not being able to disengage from their cell phone. There are so many different ways to break the addiction of the cell phone. This is for those who feel like they are too dependent on their smartphones, it’s time to take a break and start paying attention towards better things. While a smartphone is an essential daily gadget in today’s world, it’s not something that one should be addicted to.

When downloading an app, there is always an option of enabling notifications with one simple click it can turn them off so it won’t be such a distraction. Turn off the notifications from apps like social media or game apps, those are the main root to spending an outrageous amount of time on a cellphone doing nothing when time could be used for something productive. But this isn’t enough, when customizing notifications it reduces the number of notifications one gets, but there are ones that will still demand attention. Next thing is to get rid of badges. Badges are the little red circle that draws attention and shows someone how many notifications they’ve missed. Badges should be used for more important things like missed phone calls, emails, or text.

Another way is finding out which apps on your phone are healthy for you or extremely toxic. When a relationship with an app is healthy, it makes one’s life better, it’s not a compulsion to use it. They’ll use it when they need it and the rest of the time don’t think about it. When a relationship with an app is toxic it makes one’s life worse. Using these apps gives someone little to no benefits. Healthy apps include the calendar , calculator, and banking apps. Unhealthy apps are all social media apps and free game apps. The goal is to de-emphasize all the apps which there’s an addiction too and emphasize the more healthier ones.

Keeping your phone away at night can also help. Cell phone addiction can affect sleep so when someone is charging their phone at night, they can charge it as far as they can away from them to keep them from being up all night. “U.S. teens are trading sleep time for screen time. That’s the finding of a new study. It analyzed survey data from hundreds of thousands of adolescents. And they showed that the share of teens who are losing more sleep and logging more screen time rose dramatically.” If someone checks their phone and read something upsetting it can cause them to be restless and make it way harder for you to fall back to sleep. So moving yjr cell phone to a different room or even just out of arm’s reach could better their sleep and overall health.

Lastly, finding a hobby. When people are keeping themselves occupied or when they are genuinely having fun and enjoying life outside of their cell phone it could make a person’s day way more productive and positive. People miss out on so much on their phone without even noticing, in a good way. When spending time on a cellphone, there is so much time being wasted and that time could go towards something. If a person don’t have a hobby they can spend time finding one or it doesn’t even have to be a hobby, just something that will keep them occupied and something that will also benefit you like homework or cleaning.

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Though there are good and bad influences of the smartphones, these social aspects are changing and making it more difficult to maintain regular social lives with the heavy reliance on smartphones. There are several impacts that these smartphones have on an individual’s life, and will continue to have as the capabilities grow every day. As cell phone addiction increases, more and more people feel trapped. As a society, people can all put a stop to these habits if they really tried. There was once a time when none of this technology was really important to us, from reaching the highest level on candy crush to how many likes have you received on your most recent picture. It could go back to where people lived a nomophobia free life. All they have to do is notice their obsession and get through all the steps to get over it.  

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Cell Phone Addiction: Human Interaction At Stake. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
“Cell Phone Addiction: Human Interaction At Stake.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
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