In many ways, cell phones are addictive. The gadgets are an integral part of many people’s days. Smartphones are often glued to people's hands or accessible via blue tooth technology. Negative effects of cell phone addiction include isolation and unbalanced priorities. There are effective solutions for treating the addiction, once you identify the symptoms.
Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction
Take a step back and ask yourself how important your cell phone is to your day. If your phone use reduces the quality of your life, you may have an addiction. Perhaps you carry the gadget around with you even when you do not leave home; you look at the screen as you walk and constantly check it for missed calls.
Another symptom is you feel the need to have the device with you at the dinner table and look at apps rather than talking to family members over meals. Is your cell phone constantly in your hand or within your line of vision? You obsess over the item; your obsession is a cell phone addiction.
Look at your phone bill. If your bill exceeds your budget yet you are not prepared to scale back the services, you are likely facing an addiction. Another factor to consider is whether the gadget is getting in the way of your social life. Perhaps you cancel lunches with friends in favor of staying home to keep up with social networks via your mobile. When the device gets in the way of your real life events in a negative way, you likely have a cell phone addiction.
There are many causes of the addiction. The cell phone may be just one part of a larger addiction to technology in general. After all, many smartphones are equipped with apps to play games, browse the internet, and send emails.
Online social media networks are growing rapidly. There are several, with the big players including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your friends and family members are joining networks too. You often “talk” to one another on the networks as your schedules keep you too busy to meet face to face.
If you have made new online friends through the networks, your cell phone provides a way to connect with these people when they live in other cities and even in other countries. You trade media links, such as articles and photos. The interaction is fun and you begin to spend more time daily on your mobile device. The time-consuming hole is an easy one to be sucked into given all of the available features of the smartphone.
Cell phone addiction ties to FOMO, or fear of missing out. You fear something might be happening while you are busy in real life rather than online. You have the fear of missing something more exciting than what you are doing now. That fear certainly helps explain why cell phone use becomes addictive behavior.
The addiction is similar to one of the reasons why teenagers become addicted to cigarettes. There is peer pressure. The next time you leave home, notice how many people are talking on their phones, sending text messages, or checking emails. These activities are common. While high school may be over, you may still have desires to fit in with the majority of the population. You may also want to keep up to date on technology trends and therefore desire the latest gadget.
Treatment for Addiction
As with any addiction, the first step to overcoming it is to admit the problem. Answer honestly whether your cell phone usage is getting in the way of social activities and interfering with your productivity at work or at home. Once you realize the problem exists, you are able to look for treatment solutions.
Begin with small steps so that you do not overwhelm yourself. Completely cutting off mobile usage is a big step and it is not necessary to stop using the device. Instead, try writing down the amount of time each day that you use your phone. You might be surprised by the total amount. You will likely see that the high usage is often unnecessary, as you do not have to check Facebook three times a day or take the gadget to the bathroom with you.
Ground yourself. Understand that if you do not respond to a Google+ comment today, it will still be on the network for you to respond tomorrow. A comment about a photo you posted is not urgent! Begin to re-prioritize your surroundings.
If you start by spending one less hour a day using your smartphone, how could you use that instead? Perhaps you could go for a walk and enjoy the weather. You could meet a friend at a coffee shop for a visit. You are making connections with the world around you and weaning yourself off your cell phone.
When you deliberately limit the amount of time each day you use your phone, you work toward disbanding the addiction. You increase your independence from the technology. You will likely find yourself more in tune with your surroundings and engaging more with people face to face. Over time, you will not need to put aside blocks of time without your mobile in order to use it less; your habits will change naturally. Cell phone addiction is a problem but is controllable through realistic treatments.
Gary Coulbeck on May 05, 2014:
Cell phones and the aps they have are turning people into social defectives , it's a sad world when people communicate by text rather than speech
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 01, 2013:
VoiceofAndrea, I understand what you mean about 'addiction' having a negative connotation. Well, the first step is seeing how much we use the technology, so let's start to take some breaks and have fun too when we do use the technology :)
Quite right actionbronson about addiction being a health issue. Balance is key and breaks from the technology are important for the brain to rest and readjust. Thanks for your thoughtful comment here.
actionbronson on December 04, 2012:
Great hub. my friend recently got a new upgraded cell phone and definitely has been showing signs of cell phone addiction. An addiction to using a phone, games, or social media can cause hormones to flood the brain causing an addiction. Definitely something that should be mentioned when you see this issue. Addictions are not a crime but can be a health issue and sometimes could be out of control of the person who has the addiction. Getting an addiction to a form of technology like a a cell phone or computer can sound silly but it definitely can be an issue. Anything can be an addiction and balance should be key in everyone's life.
VoiceofAndréa on December 02, 2012:
I do not like to use the word addicted because it carries such a negative thought. We are in an instant technology era where each device brings us a faster result for something. I do agree people should not be on phones at dinner or if it takes away from your "family" time. I love social media and technology. I never leave home without my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. I constantly read on my phone. I was even captured in a news story on people walking & texting :) so I will admit Im a dependent!
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2012:
Hi allelsematters, thanks for sharing your experiences here and for your compliments about my hub. I am glad you have a more balanced approach now to the technology!
Lady Jen Palven from Philippines on November 21, 2012:
My eyes immediately went to your question, Do you know someone who has a cellphone addiction?yes, me!haha anyway, when i was in high school, my mom bought me this very expensive cellphone and got addicted to the social networking sites but my fond of these sites was cut because it was stollen from me. My aunt bought me another expensive brand and i would end up taking pictures, posting in facebook and all but that was until again it was stolen from me. My aunt told me that she would never buy me another cellphones since i was like a snatcher magnet. She keeps on bringing back all the cellphones that was stolen and she said all of your 5 cellphone was stolen in just 1 year. Now, i got really traumatized by the experienced and now i am happy with my Nokia C3, i can use fb and play with the games. I also used my cellphone for writing my articles but most of the time i play my downloaded games and this serves as my way to let me sleep and my aunt would always scold me because of this.Haha but my addiction to it was decreased since i started using hubpages, it really helped me divert my attention in playing cellphone games.
You have very interesting hub, thanks for this. I will apply your suggestions to decrease my addiction :)
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 15, 2012:
kimverly on November 09, 2012:
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 05, 2012:
Great point Anonymouskid. I have updated the hub accordingly. No need to hide behind a false name, feel free to connect!
Anonymouskid on November 05, 2012:
"If you start by spending one less hour a day using your smartphone, how could you use that instead? Perhaps you could go for a walk and enjoy the weather. You could phone a friend..."
I thought we were avoiding phone usage in the first place?
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 15, 2012:
@Blissful, I did not know that, thanks for sharing the extra information here.
BlissfulWriter on August 12, 2012:
There is now also a phobia called Nomophobia -- which the fear of being without a cell phone.
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 16, 2012:
@thougtforce, thank-you. I did quite a bit of research for this hub and find the topic so interesting. I like your related hub as well. Hope you have a great week!
Christina Lornemark from Sweden on July 14, 2012:
Very interesting article and admitting there is a problem is the first step! It is easy to become addicted since cell phones give us many of the things that motivate us. We must learn how to use the technology and how to set limits if it is needed! Good treatment advices too!
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2012:
@Sandy, thank-you for sharing your experience with me. I am glad you realized the addiction as that is absolutely the first step. Glad to see you here and take care!
Sandy Frost from India on May 09, 2012:
This happened with me two years ago. Addiction to few social networking sites made me a serious cell-phone freak as I used to always keep an eye on these portals on my nokia, passing almost 5 to 6 hours per day. When it realized me after a year that such virtual addiction is putting me on some kind of distraction from real life then I used to regulate this habit and scheduled this routine on day-breaks or more. Now, what I think, my cell-phone could be tired of those 5 to 6 hours torture by me at that time period. :)
Well, nice reading this helpful hub. Voted up, thank you.
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 23, 2012:
@Patti, it is easy to get sucked into the social network worlds.. You're not alone in losing track of time! Thanks for stopping by Patti :) I hope you are well!
@lovedoctor, I'm glad you connected with the statement that the problem needs to be acknowledged before other steps can be taken. Your feedback is great for me, thanks!
@Jackie, the bills can be staggering. I do hope that the hub helps some people regain perspective. Thank-you for coming by to comment.
Patti Riggs Hale from Burdette, Arkansas on April 23, 2012:
Interesting hub, Christy! I may have a problem wasting time checking my email and social networks during the day but it's on my computer and not my phone.
lovedoctor926 on April 22, 2012:
This is a very good hub.Cell phone addiction has become a problem especially for college students. You have made very good points in this article. As far as treatment options, admitting that you have a problem is half the battle. keep up the good work
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 22, 2012:
I was planning on writing on this but not really from the same perspective. I really think many are addicted and wow some are so so addicted, and that money thing is a real clue. Hope many give what you say some thought.
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 22, 2012:
@Chris, Thanks for stopping by to read! What a great comment :)
@Rajan, I adjusted the hub and now the sharing buttons seem to be there. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for the comment.
@Teaches, you are a great commenter. I can only imagine those classrooms, another distraction for students! Thanks for reading :)
Christy Birmingham (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 22, 2012:
@Vinaya, that is an interesting take on the gadget. I rarely use mine so I enjoyed writing about this topic. Thanks for your comment.
@Marc, thank-you buddy! Yes there are a few things eating away at the minds...
Marc Babineau from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City on April 22, 2012:
Great post, Christy! It's not only drugs that are ruining people's brains, now is it?
Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on April 22, 2012:
I'm in kind of love and hate relationship with cell phones. I can't live without cell phone but then this gadget is also a nuisance.
But anyway, I enjoyed reading your perspective.
Dianna Mendez on April 22, 2012:
As a teacher, I have seen students who cannot function unless they have their cell phone nearby. It is a distraction in class for them and others. Your hub article is helpful in understanding the signs of addiction. Great coverage and so interesting.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 22, 2012:
Thank God Christy, I'm not one of this group. I like the way you tackle this issue by suggesting ways to get away without really taking drastic steps.
Voted up, very useful.
BTW, I don't see the voting buttons?
Chris Achilleos on April 21, 2012:
Another very interesting hub of yours which I enjoyed reading :)