How many times a day do you check your smartphone?
According to a recent survey, the typical American checks once every 6½ minutes, or approximately 150 times every day. Other research has found that number to be as high as 300 times a day.
For young people, the attachment is particularly acute: 53 percent of people between the ages of 15 and 30 reported they would sooner give up their sense of taste than their smartphones.
These data strongly suggest that many may, indeed, be addicted to their smartphones. I’ve studied shopping addiction for 20 years and have a pretty good sense of when normal behaviors veer into unhealthy preoccupations. The fact that 80 to 90 percent of people use their phones while driving — which, by one estimate, causes 6,000 deaths and US$9 billion in damages annually — is a clear sign that something is amiss. And as a college professor, I’ve seen, firsthand, the overwhelming distraction caused by smartphones in the classroom.
But I also wondered: Are some people more likely to become addicted to their smartphones than others? There’s a good body of research tying certain personality types to being prone to other addictions. Could a similar link exist for smartphone addiction?