The development of 5G networks in telecommunications can make the online world more appealing. However, although a 5G smartphone can be a hugely productive tool, compulsive use of it can interfere with work, school, and relationships. When it brings negative influences to your life, you may need to reassess the technology use.
Problematic smartphone use can create compulsions and worsen mental problems
Smartphone addiction, sometimes also known as nomophobia, namely fear of being without a mobile phone, often results from an Internet overuse problem. In particular, the social media platforms supported by a smartphone provide hyper-social environments so that many of us become addicts.
The reason behind that lies in a feel-good chemical called dopamine. It is transmitted across the brain pathways when people are in a rewarding situation. Many people use smartphones for social interaction and tend to check mobiles frequently to see if they got a like or a response on social media. Dopamine would get released when they have successful social interactions. It rewards them for beneficial behaviors and motivates them to repeat checking phones, which eventually leads to dependence.
You may resort to smartphones to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, or loneliness. However, heavy smartphone use can worsen those problems by disturbing your sleep, and encouraging self-absorption. For example, staring at the phone late at night may not only lead to insomnia, but also deny you the face-to-face interactions that can help to meaningfully connect you to others and boost your mood.
Self-assessment of smartphone addiction and self-help tips
There are a few warning signs of smartphone or Internet overuse, including trouble completing tasks at work or home, isolation from family and friends, sneaking off to a quiet place to use your phone, and feeling of dread when the battery runs down.
If you are experiencing those problems, there are a few steps that you can start from to help yourself.
First, avoid the triggers. You need to find out the triggers that make you reach for your phone. For example, you can keep a log of when and how much you use your smartphone for non-work or non-essential activities.
You need to understand the difference between interacting in-person and online. For instance, online friends cannot hug you when a crisis hits or visit you when you are sick.
Then, you can replace your smartphone use with healthier activities. Now that successful social interactions would stimulate dopamine release and bring pleasure, you can participate in more interpersonal activities to adopt a healthier lifestyle. For example, you can have a specific dedicated time each week for friends and family by cooking a meal or taking a trip together.
We do not have to ban the smartphone use, but we do need to limit it.