Experts say constant use of mobile devices hasn’t been diagnosed as an addiction–yet. But some contend that it’s fast on its way to being classified as a disease similar to drug addiction, alcoholism or gambling.
David Greenfield, a psychologist who is an expert on Internet-related behaviors, says he predicted a decade ago that people would become ultra-dependent on mobile devices, even more than they are on PCs and laptops. Since phones don’t weigh much and fit easily into a pocket or a purse, “the threshold is even easier to cross, and there’s no end to it,” Greenfield says. “You’re pretty much hooked in wherever you are, if you want to be.”
Greenfield says constant and continual use of untethered devices produces chemical responses in the body similar to gambling. When compulsive gamblers win a hand, they are motivated to keep playing till they win again–no matter how much they lose in between.
It’s the same with mobile texting and e-mailing, he says. “Every once in a while you’ll get a good [text message or e-mail] between Viagra ads and Uganda money schemes,” Greenfield says. “That’s a hit, and it’s a powerful reinforcer.” ….