Burying our noses in our smartphones, checking for updates, sharing stories, it's what many of us do throughout the day. We engage in conversation, we post pictures and hope people see them and like them. It's all about instant gratification, isn't it? How many people are interacting with me? How many people like me? How many people are seeing me? But according to new research, which surveyed 346 men and women between the ages of 19 to 24, and with an average age of 21, that constant smartphone gazing can be linked to moodiness and depression.
If you find you're constantly looking at your phone, wondering where the next like or interaction will come from, then chances are you're temperamental and trying to use the device to alter your mood.
"A person who is moody and temperamental may be more likely to be addicted to their cell phone than more stable individuals," wrote the scientists from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, who added phone addiction can be just like any other addiction, an attempt to elevate one's temperament.
"Incessant checking of emails, sending texts, tweeting, and surfing the web may act as pacifiers for the unstable individual distracting him or herself from the worries of the day and providing solace, albeit temporarily, from such concerns."
According to the Global Digital Statistics of 2014, in Australia there are more than 24 million mobile subscriptions and more than 50 per cent of them are used to access social media sites. The average time spent searching the likes of Facebook being just over two hours a day, an hour more than the average time spent by candidates in the Texas study.
But lucky for us, even if we are using social media to quell our feelings of dejection, our phones are so smart that now they can pick up on if we're depressed or not.
There is actually an app, called StudentLife, which can reportedly gauge a student's mood and identify if they're depressed. According to the makers of the device, real-life interactions with people, sleep and a higher number of conversations mean moods are elevated and depression levels go down.
Another start-up, Ginger.io, monitors smartphone users' behaviour, including things like how they move and interact with people, in order to see the signs of depression and even mental health issues like schizophrenia.
What do you think? Are you addicted to your smartphone? How does it affect your mood? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
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