Even before having a Twitter account I engaged in debates over the effects that social media has on our behavior. Topics such as social isolation, bullying and harassment on one side and engagement, interaction, self-growth, networking on the other side were thrown around the table.
Did I ever wonder at that point about the role that technology plays and not just about the role of social media? Not at all.
A recent study led by researcher Matthew Lapierre from the University of Arizona looked at smartphone dependency and its connection to depression. The study revealed that it becomes problematic when people are using smartphones to replace or escape living their non-virtual existence.
Extreme reliance on our device, anxiety if we get separated from it for even a moment or two, are signs of later depression and loneliness. What can we do?
Live without your smartphone for 12 hours (sleeping doesn’t count).
- Let your loved ones know that you will be out of reach for 12 hours.
- Turn off the device or put it away, on silent.
- Live. Walk. Breath. Carry on with your day.
- Keep a journal of the experience.
- At the end of the 12 hours after feasting in the use of technology, read what you’ve wrote.
- How does that make you feel?
“If depression and loneliness lead to smartphone dependency, we could reduce dependency by adjusting people’s mental health, but if smartphone dependency (precedes depression and loneliness), which is what we found, we can reduce smartphone dependency to maintain or improve wellbeing.”Communication Master’s Student Pengfei Zhao, Study Co-Authored
Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression? by Matthew Lapierre. Pengfei Zhao and Benjamin Custer