As addictive as smoking
MOBILE phones can be as addictive as smoking or junk food, warn
experts. Many of us are becoming alarmingly dependent on our mobiles,
even suffering repetitive strain injury from constant texting.
In extreme cases, it can be as bad as being hooked on nicotine.
Australian researchers are carrying out the first study into mobile
phone addiction and say preliminary data already suggests some owners
are obsessive about their phones.
Diana James, of Queensland University of Technology, found that many
students became anxious and agitated if they were parted from their
mobiles. Some even panicked when simply asked to turn them off for a
short discussion. 'They were afraid - they were quite agitated,' she
'Students were quite relieved when the session was over and they
could turn on their phone back on and check for messages.' From speaking
to the students, she also found some that suffered sleep deprivation and
even RSI from lying awake at night texting 'Because they can provide
immediate pleasure, if you're not careful mobile phones can become as
much of an addiction as snacking on junk food or smoking,' she warned.
Miss James said not all of those who heavily use their mobile will
become addicted but users should ask themselves whether their phone
leads to any emotional, social and physical stress.
Danger signs include running up huge bills and reacting irrationally
if you lose or forget your phone. Miss James, a researcher in consumer
behaviour, is conducting an online study with mobile phone users in
Australia throughout April and May to measure how much phone addiction
'I think it is critical that we can help people realise their level
of dependency and ultimately help them to do something about it,' she
said. 'I want to develop a scale that can measure addiction so that
people can assess themselves.'Mobile phone addiction is going to surpass
Internet addiction because at least you can walk away from your