Problematic smartphone usage has become a huge problem in society. It has now reached the point of being branded as a psychiatric disorder. Worse, 23% of kids are affected.

Smartphone usage reached unparalleled proportions today. While many adults use their smartphones for business and communication, there are also those who use it for games. Perhaps the most affected group of all are children. The moment they get hooked in using their phones, there seems nothing better to do.  At times, they couldn’t just “live” without their smartphones.

Such behavior towards smartphones is alarming, and doctors call it problematic smartphone usage (PSU). King’s College London researchers analyzed 40 studies involving the use of smartphones, from the time that smartphones became popular up to the present. problematic smartphone usage or addiction problematic smartphone usage or addiction Photo: nastya_gepp - Pixabay

They found that PSU affects 10% to 30% of children. Teenagers and young adults were not exempted since those up to the age of 25 were likewise afflicted by the disorders.

From the studies that they analyzed, which covered more than 40,000 individuals, including both children and young adults, they found behaviors that were similar to that of an addiction. Some of the smartphone-related behaviors that they pointed out included having difficulty in controlling the time that they spend on the phone.

Other behaviors indicative of a smartphone addiction include feeling agitated or panicky whenever the phone is unavailable. Some children neglect other activities just to focus on their phones, which is also a worrisome behavior.

Some of the detrimental effects of problematic smartphone usage or smartphone addiction include poor mental health, poor sleep quality, stress, anxiety, and even low educational attainment.

Although scientists say that there is still a need to further investigate their findings, including that of the relationship between PSU and mental health, the current results of the King’s London College study are enough to bring people to exercise caution in using smartphones, especially with children.

Some of the behaviors that PSU exhibits include low self-control, emotional instability, impulsivity, openness, conscientiousness, perfectionism, loneliness, and insecurity. The researchers also noted that further research is needed on the subject.  Just the same, caution must be exercised when it comes to smartphone use, most especially when it’s children who are concerned.