How often do you check your mobile phone? Once a day? Twice? Don’t be daft…! The chances are you check your mobile phone dozens of times a day. Indeed, many people find it hard not to check their mobile phone constantly. Smartphone usage is an obsession, it seems.
Only last week I was in a public toilet where a man was standing at the urinal; he had one, rather personal item, in his left hand and whilst he urinated, in his right hand his thumb was flicking through his mobile phone. He couldn’t even take a pee-break without checking his phone.
In fact, mobile phone usage in the toilet is significantly high. It is so commonplace that one in every six mobile phones is seriously contaminated with faecal bacteria. Some phones are so badly infected they are dirtier than the toilet itself. It is all an indication that many people are almost umbilically attached to their smartphone.
Smartphone usage and satisfaction with life
Now a new study adds a further twist to the way we appear to be obsessed with our smartphones. This study was investigating the link between smartphone usage, stress, and satisfaction with life. The researchers found that amongst high-volume users of smartphones – students – there was indeed a link between these elements and academic performance. It seemed that the stressed students tended to use their mobile phones more – and the more they used their smartphones, the lower their academic performance.
Now, this does not mean that smartphones lower your ability to learn. Rather it backs up the well-established relationship between stress and academic performance. Stressed students don’t do as well as those who are not suffering from such psychological pressures.
What is interesting is that stressed students use their mobile phone more. Excess smartphone usage could, therefore, be a sign of psychological issues, such as stress, rather than a causative factor.
Are you using your mobile phone because you have to?
So, you could ask yourself this question. Is your smartphone usage essential, or is it a symptom of other factors in your life? Maybe your excess use of your mobile phone is a warning sign that there is stress in your life. It is worth thinking about. Checking the amount of time you use your mobile phone and what you use it for is a good start – otherwise, you are likely to underestimate the amount of time you are actually using your smartphone. For iPhone users there is Moment, whereas Android phone users can try Menthal. Such apps can tell you just how much you really are using your phone.
Once you know your actual smartphone usage, you can start to make informed decisions about whether it is too much. If you are using the phone a lot, then perhaps you need to consider what is stressing you and what influences in your life may be impacting upon your smartphone usage. If you sort them out, your mobile phone activity could well reduce.
Remember, the amount of time you spend on your mobile phone could be a warning that all is not well.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+