There’s no question that many Australians are becoming more and more distracted by their smartphones, and according to researchers from the University of Derby in the UK this technology should come with a health warning.
The March 2015 study published in the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning, found that mobile phones encouraged narcissistic tendencies and were psychologically addictive. The average user in the study was spending 3.6 hours a day on their device, with 13 per cent of participants classed as addicted.
RMIT University IT academic John Lenarcic says society’s obsession with smartphones is certainly a cause for concern.
“I think it’s a distraction epidemic because people tend to be focused on this one thing they are holding in their hand and they don’t want to switch it off, or put it away,” Dr Lenarcic says.
“It seems like it’s in control.”
Dr Lenarcic says society’s obsession stems from the mobile phone having become an all-in-one device.
“The smartphone has become a convergent device, so you can do so many things with it,” he says.
“Before you would have something that is called a telephone, that is just used for making phone calls.
“Now most people would be using their smartphones to access the internet.
“It’s become an ‘always-on’ device.”