Digital addiction on the rise

Researchers are battling to have addiction to the internet and digital devices classified as a real condition.

Many people have experienced anxiety at being separated from their smartphone, with it not only being their point of contact with the wider world but also the device for which they check social media updates and hold their day-to-day itineraries. This anxiety even comes from those old enough to remember the days when heading out - even just for a few moments - was to leave oneself entirely unable to be contacted, indiatimes.com reports.

This sea change has prompted researchers to determine whether or not such separation anxiety - when a person is removed from their device - does indeed illustrate addiction. It was suggested that, as people check their devices regularly throughout the day, this slowly causes an addiction that could have huge impacts if the time comes to be separated.

As such, researchers looked into the standard definition of addictive behaviour and whether this correlated with smartphone separation anxiety. These included a person's need to constantly check their phone or a loss in productivity when it returns to their possession.

With the results seeming to fit, the authors have now said digital addiction not only exists but does so in a notable proportion of the world's population.

Researcher Adrian Wang also noted a crossover between other anxieties, where consumers use their devices as a coping method.

"Patients come for stress anxiety-related problems," he told scmp.com, "but their coping mechanism is to go online, go on social media."


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