Tech & Science

How to tell if you’re addicted to your phone

There is no doubt that many of us spend most of our lives in front of screens. Especially mobile phones.

What’s also indisputable is that some of these activities can take us down a spiraling rabbit hole of wasting time.

In fact, according to 2021 and 2022 Pew Research Surveys, 31% of U.S. adults and 46% of U.S. teens say they are connected to the internet “almost all the time.”

How much is too much? Sometimes it’s hard to know. But in some cases the answer is much more obvious. It was for Jerome Yankee. It was during his freshman year of college that he realized that his use of media, especially TikTok, was becoming a problem.

“I think at first I started to get really tired physically, because at that time I was not sleeping and scrolling for hours, hours of the day. Other than that, it’s in my free time,” he explained.

When the burden turned from physical to mental, shattering his creativity and distorting his values, he decided he needed to quit. And he made it a frosty turkey — no easy feat.

The Yankees are not alone. According to a Pew Research survey of his teens in the US in 2022, 67% of them use his TikTok, of which 16% use it “almost constantly.” I’m here. That number is even higher among his 95% of his teens who use YouTube, with 19% using it “almost all the time.”

am i addicted?

Internet addiction is currently not an official clinical diagnosis. There are still many questions about whether it should be considered a mental health disorder in its own right, or part of another mental health condition. I also have a question about what to do.

However, most experts agree that too much screen time can have negative effects, especially for children, whether it’s a true “addiction” or not.

That’s where Dr. Michael Rich comes in. A self-professed “media trian,” Rich treats young patients he calls problematic media use at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Interactive His Media Disorders Clinic, which he co-directs.

“The problem arises when daily functioning is compromised in some way,” he said. “They don’t get enough sleep. They eat too much. They skip school or doze off at school. They withdraw from their friends.”

He prefers to stay away from the addiction model.

“We as a society use the word addiction pejoratively. I will treat it as something that will be punished without punishment,” he said.

Rich also believes technology is not the cause of patient problems. And he takes a counter-intuitive approach to helping young patients who are often dealing with other issues such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or just plain old stress. Hear how they are learning how to have healthy relationships.

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