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Smartphone addiction: The UK’s mobile obsession

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Hi, My Name is ___ and I’m Addicted to My Smartphone
The UK’s Mobile Obsession
With endless possibilities available right at the fingertips, it’s no wonder people have separation anxiety from their smartphones. But how far does this addiction really go? Let’s take a look.

SECTION 1: Admittance
The first step is admitting you have an addiction, and let’s face it, you probably do. More than a quarter of UK adults and nearly half of all teens now own smartphones.
• 27% of adults and 47% of teenagers now own smartphones, which include iPhones, Blackberrys and Android phones.
• 81% of users make calls every day, compared with 53% of regular mobile users.
• Teenagers are significantly cutting back on more traditional activities in favour of their smartphones—23% say they watch less TV, and 15% admit they read fewer books.
• 37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are highly addicted to their smartphones.

SECTION 2: You Use it…Where?
Smartphone users take their mobile devices everywhere, including to the toilet and the dinner table.

• TURNED ON. 81% have their mobiles switched on all of the time, even when they are in bed.

• WAKE UP CALL. 4 in 10 adults admit to using their smartphones after waking up as a result of the mobiles.

• HOW RUDE. 51% of adults and 65% of teenagers say they use their smartphone while socialising with others.

• MULTITASKING. 23% of adults and 34% of teenagers use their mobiles during mealtimes.
o 22% of adults and 47% of teenage smartphone owners say they use their mobiles in the bathroom or on the toilet.

<<CALLOUT>> REBEL USERS. Teenagers are also more likely to use their smartphones in quiet places they shouldn’t, such as in the cinema or library. 27% of teens admit to doing so, compared with 18% of adults.

SECTION 3: App Overload
With smartphones come millions of handy apps for nearly every aspect of people’s lives, including entertainment, health, food, photography, social media, and more. According to a study from Apigee, many people around the world report basic things they would be unable to do without the convenience of mobile apps, including:

• Check email – 48%
• Wake up on time in the morning – 32%
• Feel happy – 23%
• Navigate to work – 20%
• Maintain relationships – 19%
• Find dates – 13%
• Order dinner – 12%
• Impress people – 10%

<<CALLOUT>>85% of people admit they would actually rather give up drinking water than delete all of their apps.

SECTION 4: “I can stop anytime.”
Are you able to put down the phone? Give your thumbs a break, and read these tips to know if your addiction is reaching dangerous levels.

1. You Must Respond Immediately.
If you start breaking a sweat over unanswered texts or emails, it’s probably safe to say your smartphone is adding stress to your life instead of making it simpler. If you’re constantly interrupting what you’re doing to check your phone—including time with family, friends, and work—then the behaviour is compulsive.
2. You Hear Phantom Mobile Phone Ringing.
If you think you hear ringing or feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, yet take it out to see nothing has happened, you’re experiencing a real case of phantom cellphone ringing syndrome, which is a sign of technology addiction, according to a worldwide study by the International Center for Media at the University of Maryland.

3.  You Fear Missing Out.
Are you constantly thinking about what all your friends are doing and worrying that you might be missing out on fun plans? If scrolling through party photos on social media sites makes you anxious or sad, well, you have a serious case of FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. The best way to repel a case of FOMO is to take a step back and say no once in awhile.
4. You're Neglecting Your Friends and Family.
While there’s nothing wrong with answering an important call or text during a meal with family or friends, we’ve all had those instances where we turn all of our attention from the conversation to our phones. If it becomes a habit, however, it might be time to rethink your priorities to avoid damaging your relationships.
5.  Poor Performance in School or Work.
If you're sitting in class or a boring meeting and eagerly awaiting the next social media message, call, or text to receive on your smartphone, this could cause difficulty focusing and affect your grades or productivity. Try downloading an app that blocks social media activity and other distractions if you’re still unable to control the urge to check your phone every 10 minutes.

SOURCES: Ofcom, Apigee, University of Maryland

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