Smartphones Aren't Addictive, Social Interaction Is

3년 전

In our technological world, many people view time spent on smart phones, computers, and social media as a possible addiction. We live in a highly connected world thanks to the Internet, where we can communicate with people across vast distances. Our use of new technology taps into the human desire to connect, and may be less of a dysfunction that many assume it to be.


Considering smartphone and social media use as being anti-social is being turned on its head according to a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Rather than being antisocial, these addictions could demonstrate someone who is hyper-social.

Instead of viewing these addictions being related to new technology and hampering human interaction, it's instead human interaction that's the addictive component that draws people to these new technologies.

Many of us probably know someone who apparently "can't live" without their smartphone. It's with them all the time, and they're check it every few minutes. From notifications, to applying to text messages, or just checking up on the activity of their friends. Rather than looking at this as anti-social behavior, we can change the way were looking at it and recognize it as hyper-social, where even in the presence of direct human interaction in front of them, they are still drawn to greater degrees of socialization through human interaction online.

We have a desire for attention from others, and to pay attention to others. We want to watch and see what is going on others lives, but we also want to be seen and monitored for others to pay attention to our own lives. But the hyper-connectivity of being able to connect with people at any time through our smartphones can turn these healthy urges into unhealthy addictions.


We get likes and messages from people, which means they're paying attention to us in some way. People paying attention to us makes us feel important, and our reward system is engaged. We can then become addicted to that reward mechanism as it runs on overdrive. The need for pro-social interaction, and the rewards activation from using technology to connect to others, can "produce a manic theatre of hyper-social monitoring".

The media has been talking about smart phone addiction, where investors and consumers alike begin to demand tech companies address this problem through restrictive methods of external control. But rather than force regulation onto companies, we should learn how to regulate and control our own behavior for more appropriate use of smartphones.

What can be done to control smartphone addiction if you or someone you know seems to fit this scenario? Turn off your notifications that alert you about every little thing. You can also set a limit to how much you check your phone, or do it only at specific times in the day.

Even if it's an addiction to social interaction as opposed to a smartphone, that doesn't mean the addiction is good when it affects others around us who we are supposed to be interacting with. We need to put down the phone, put away the social media, and interact with those who are there for us to interact with in "the real".

When first introduced push notifications, I had them on. But after a while, I got annoyed of always having notifications because 1) they were annoying to always see, but also because 2) I was being constantly drawn to open the site and check out the activity that I was being notified about. I found this to be taking up a lot of my time, unnecessarily. So I eventually turned them off.

What do you think? Have your say.

  • Are you addicted to your smartphone because of the increased social interaction?
  • Are you addicted to social media, like Facebook or Steem?
  • Do you have notifications on and enjoy being notified about some activity?
  • Is your social media time interfering with 'real life' time with others?

Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.


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Unless they need to use social media for work, people who update their status & browse their feeds & check their notifications constantly have a co-dependent personality. They cannot act or think without looking around first, without signals from other people. Their identities are essentially defined by what other people think.


That's a good insight. Thank you for the valuable feedback on the content :)

The only thing you can say different between a face-to-face interaction and a interwebz interaction is that you can see the body language and tonality in the face-to-face. And so, get a much better conversation.

But, often, that is not true.
So many times we have conversations with people where they just drone on and on and on. We already know the body language, its the same as the last time.

But, if you have that convo on-line, you can have two of those conversations at the same time (or more) and get more actual interaction, and less sitting there board, thinking of a way to get out (maybe if i gnaw off my arm).

And really, anything and everything can eat up your time. That is why productive people keep their time ordered, and if needed, turn off distractions.


anything and everything can eat up your time. That is why productive people keep their time ordered, and if needed, turn off distractions.

Yup, manage and prioritize your time well ;)

It's very hard not to check the phone in a moment where nothing is happening or I'm waiting etc... However, I don't see anything bad in that as long as it's not driven by a very obvious addictive impulse. I'm definitely enticed to some extent by the "dopamine rewards" of a good notification. But I don't go crazy if I don't have the phone for a day.

Hi @krnel. I like to follow scientific papers written on these kind of topics, and there is a great paper out saying that addiction to social media is also linked to the fear of missing out (FOMO), here is the open access to the paper:
In relation to this I wrote that my concerns are that steemit is even more addictive than other social media, as the reward is larger, and that it will be denied as an addiction, especially if you are earning reasonable money.
( I would be honored if you come and check out my post)


Thanks for the link, yeah there is indeed some FOMO aspect to it eh


I really like your well thought out posts, based on science. I do the same and I hope you will stop by some time, to get some smart feedback from you :-)

I belive most of the major social network companies, as well as social content creators, are working hard every day to make their networks so addictive that you can't resist them.

But rather than force regulation onto companies, we should learn how to regulate and control our own behavior for more appropriate use of smartphones.

This is the key.

I have all notifications for everything turned off. I don't read email notifications either. When on reddit and I make a comment a super majority of the time I click on disable notifications.

I could agree with you about the hyper-social effect on people,
but It's really hard to tell how many people is using this new technology to communicate with others and how many of them are not communicating at all, just playing alone, reinforcing their solitude.


Oh yeah, sure there are plenty that just do games on their phone or what not without any interaction, true ;)

If social interaction were addictive rather than smart phones, we would be interacting with each other in shops, streets, busses, and anywhere out in public. Sadly we would rather gaze into a screen rather than into the physical face of others. Phones are addictive. Just like slot machines are. You hope to get the reward or payout on slot machines. You hop to get the payout of info on your phone. Same too with Steemit. You hope to get the results of your post of comments. Now I am going to post this and read some more blogs tonight to support my addiction! LOL @krnel


It's easier. You don't need to move to meet someone, or multiple people at once which is impossible, it can be done at any time. It's convenient to bypass physical locality.


Ah yes! Convenience leads to laziness. Thanks @krnel


why sadness? why is it bad that people communicate through screens instead of look at the physical face of others?

Yes my social media time, particularly steem is interfering with my real life time with other things.

I think smartphone and social media does not make you antisocial but I think the problem with them is that they don't make you have time for other aspects of life.


Very true, it takes time from other places... :/

the answer to every question you made is no for me :P

i will ask you this, is social interaction addictive or acceptance?

Thakns for sharing, I am really appreciate what you do, and I already support you as a steam witness

Humans, socially anxious hyper social beings, conqueror of food chain and slave to a machine's beeps..

Personal responsibility? There's a novel suggestion.

Interesting! I've never thought about it like this but I agree. It's not the smartphone but rather the social interaction/media apps on them.

We have a desire for attention from others, and to pay attention to others. We want to watch and see what is going on others lives, but we also want to be seen and monitored for others to pay attention to our own lives.

I think this perpetuates the addiction. It's like a combination of envy and peer pressure. On social media, you only see the nice bits that others share. That in turn makes you feel like your life is not as exciting while at the same time you use social media to convince others (and I guess yourself) that your life, in fact, is. And then it just ends up as a vicious cycle for everyone.