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I'm not the only one struggling with this very modern compulsion. Sometimes I tap the screen absent mindedly -- looking at my email, a local blogger, my calendar, and Twitter.And while the average user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day -- for about 30 seconds each time, when the information rewards are greater (e.g., having contact info linked to the contact's whereabouts), users check even more often."The smartphone, through its small size, ease of use, proliferation of free or cheap apps, and constant connectivity, changes our relationship with computers in a way that goes well beyond what we experienced with laptops," he says.
He said that having sex online was harmless and a way to "get off" without breaking his marriage vows (we've been married 10 years). A: This is a situation I see more and more often as the Internet becomes a staple in homes.Computer technologies can be addictive, he says, because they're "psychoactive." That is, they alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.Email, in particular, gives us satisfaction due to what psychologists call "variable ratio reinforcement." That is, we never know when we'll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. "We're seeking that pleasurable hit." Smartphones, of course, allow us to seek rewards (including videos, Twitter feeds, and news updates, in addition to email) anytime and anywhere. That really depends on whether it's disrupting your work or family life, Greenfield says.I know that I'm not strong enough to resist that temptation, so I've decided to shun the device altogether." One group of business people at The Boston Group, a consulting firm, discovered just that when they participated in an experiment run by Perlow.
As described in her book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone, the group found that taking regular "predictable time off" (PTO) from their PDAs resulted in increased efficiency and collaboration, heightened job satisfaction, and better work-life balance.
Other researchers are seeing clear signs of dysfunction, if not an "addiction." According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren't addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to "checking habits" that develop with phone use -- including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections.