AH Primetime: Are You A Victim Of Smartphone Addiction?

January 30, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

We all love our smartphones.  And why shouldn’t we?  They are wonderful pieces of technology that can be helpful to us in so many ways, that’s why we spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for them and the services that make them so useful.  However, there is a fine line between using our phones as helpful companions and being addicted to them.  With many social apps out there like Twitter and Facebook, it is really easy to spend a lot of time on your phone without even realizing it.  According to a recent study, it has been revealed that the average smartphone user spends about two and a half hours on their phones a day.  If you are curious to see just how long you spend on your phone, an easy way to get a good estimate is to go to your battery settings and see how long the screen has been on.

The University of Bonn in Germany is looking to see just how much time we spend on our phones, and just what we use these technological wonders to do.  The study, led by computer science professor Alexander Markowetz, consisted of a team of psychologists and other computer scientists.  They analysed the smartphone habits of 50 students over the course of six weeks, and saw that on average the students spent over two hours on their phone per day, and checked their phone almost 80 times a day, which averages out to about once every 12 minutes.  The students in the study used their phones for messaging, social media, and gaming.  As lovely as those results are, they do not really reflect the smartphone community as  whole.  To correct for this source of error, the team developed an app called Menthal that basically tells you how you use your phone.  It covers all the basics, such as how many times you call someone, how many texts you send, how many times you turn on your screen, and how many times you use a given app.

The psychology bit isn’t left out, however.  The app tries to use your phone usage to gauge your mood.  It operates using a complex algorithm, but the gist is that the app assumes that the more you’re messaging people the more outgoing you’re feeling, while the opposite also holds true.  While this may not apply to most people, it’s still a start.  The app itself is only usable if you get through the waiting list.  The study accepts almost 10,000 new users a day, but if you download the app and you are over that quota, then be prepared to wait for your turn.  If you are interested in participating, check out the app here.

Smartphone usage varies widely among the population.  You have some people that only use their phones when they absolutely have to, and then you have some that use them for anything and everything, keeping the social media world up to date.  As for myself, I use my phone mostly for texting, limited social media usage, and emulating older games.  And yes, I am aware of the irony of using a $400 smartphone with some of the highest specs to play a game released in the 90’s.  So what do you all feel about this?  Would your smartphone usage qualify you as an addict, or are you a more moderate user?  Are you interested in participating in the study?  Let us know that and any other thoughts you may have down below!

Source:  CNET