Addictive Tech

Research suggests that smartphones have become a necessity in the lives of individuals (Campbell & Park, 2008), with some 4.23 billion smartphones being used around the world (Statista.com, 2016).

A study of 2,097 American smartphone users reported that 60% of users cannot go 1 hr without checking their smartphones with 54% reporting they checked their smartphones while lying in bed, 39% checked their smartphone while using the bathroom, and 30% checked it during a meal with others (Lookout Mobile Security, 2012). Such findings suggest that some individuals show signs of smartphone dependence. Negative consequences of smartphone use have been investigated over the last 10 years. For instance, Salehan and Negahban (2013) found that high smartphone use is associated with high social networking site (SNS) use and that SNS use was a predictor of smartphone addiction.

Research has also shown that smartphone users who report more frequent SNS use also report higher addictive tendencies (Wu, Cheung, Ku, & Hung, 2013). Dependency may occur due to the immediacy of the reward factors when checking a smartphone. This has been termed as the “check habit” (Oulasvirta, Rattenbury, Ma, & Raita, 2012) in which individuals are prone to wanting to compulsively check their smartphones for updates. Research into smartphone use and personality is an area that has received increasing attention. Research has shown that extroverts are more likely to own a smartphone and are also more likely to use the texting functions to communicate with others (de Montjoye, Quoidbach, Robic, & Pentland, 2013; Lane & Manner, 2012; Phillips, Butt, & Blaszczynski, 2006). Bianchi and Phillips (2005) reported that problem mobile phone use was a function of age, extraversion, and low self-esteem.

Research has also shown that extraverts use social media for social enhancement, whereas introverts use social media to disclose personal information (e.g., Ross et al., 2009; Zywica & Danowski, 2008), thus using it for social compensation (Amichai-Hamburger & Vinitzky, 2010). Roberts, Pullig, and Manolis (2014) found introversion was negatively associated with smartphone addiction. Research by Ehrenberg, Juckes, White, and Walsh (2008) has demonstrated an association between neuroticism and smartphone addiction.

More recently, Andreassen et al. (2016) reported significant correlations between symptoms of addictive technology use and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression. Age appeared to be inversely related to the addictive use of technologies. Furthermore, being female was significantly associated with the addictive use of social media. Taken together, these studies suggest that personality and demographic factors play a role in how people interact with smartphones.