A new study has found that women are more addicted to their smartphones that men are, and it is causing them to be depressed.
The study, conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Binghamton, surveyed 182 students and asked them to self report their smartphone use. The authors found that females were more likely than men to exhibit signs of addiction than men, and they extrapolate that this could lead to psychological issues.
“Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering,” says lead author Isaac Vaghefi. “Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom.”
The findings of the Binghamton study align with those of another study conducted by health sciences researcher Allison Carter of Simon Fraser University. Carter says there is a direct link between how much time young Canadian women spend on the internet and body dissatisfaction.
The SFU study focused on Canadian females between the ages of 12–29 and looked at the amount of time they spend on the internet weekly compared to how they feel about their bodies. The study was quite large, with 2984 participants were who had a weekly time on the internet ranging from none at all or less than an hour, to more than 20 hours.
Overall, 14.7 per cent of participants were very dissatisfied with their body. 25–29-year old’s had a very dissatisfied/dissatisfied rating of 20.76%, versus 12-14-year olds, who spent less time online, had a 6.34% very dissatisfied/dissatisfied rating.
“Based on our survey of 3000 young Canadian women, we found one in five spends more than 20 hours online each week outside of work or school,” says Carter. “These women reported body dissatisfaction at three times the rate of those connected for less than one hour per week. Women who spend 11 to 20 hours online were also more likely to be less satisfied with their bodies.”
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The U.S. study, entitled “A typology of user liability to IT addiction” was published in the March, 2017 edition of Information Systems Journal.
So will awareness of the problem help to improve the outcome? Vaghefi says he doesn’t expect the problem will go away anytime soon.
“While self-identified “addict” users were in the minority, I predict technology addiction will increase as technology continues to advance and application, game and gadget developers find new ways to ensure users’ long term engagement with technology,” he says.