Smartphones make us anxious, unfit and less successful

17 Sep Smartphones make us anxious, unfit and less successful

Whilst a need for a digital detox shown by an inability to stop scrolling, tapping and swiping at a tiny screen used to be the preserve of teenagers, more and more older generations are now as guilty as the youth of today when it comes to prolific smartphone usage (have you seen all these crazy stats about smartphone addiction?)

In fact, more often than not nowadays, it’s children who are the ones telling off their parents for having their phones out at mealtimes and paying more attention to their digital devices than their offspring. It seems children are the ones urging their parents to join the digital detox movement.

Social networks, email, instant messenger, maps, dating apps, activity trackers, alarms, diaries, weather forecasts, journey planners, dictionaries, food delivery services and more are all now available at the tap of a screen. So surely smartphones have made our lives easier and us happier, right?

Wrong.

A study has shown that as mobile phone use increases, so does anxiety. Kent State University researchers Andrew Lepp, Ph.D., Jacob Barkley, Ph.D., and Aryn Karpinski, Ph.D. conducted a study of 500 students and found that smartphone usage was positively correlated to anxiety levels.

Upon studying the grade point averages (GPAs) of the participants, the researchers also found that average grades of the students were higher for those who used their smartphones less. And if academic performance is influenced by an over-reliance on phones, it’s almost certain that professional performance will be affected in the same way.

What’s more, in another study the same researchers found that smartphone usage negatively impacts our physical as well as our mental wellbeing – the research discovered that high frequency smartphone users were less fit than low users. Regardless of gender, and despite the fact that smartphones are portable and don’t necessitate sedentary behaviour, cardiorespiratory fitness was shown to decrease as smartphone usage increased.

But the encouraging thing is that it’s never too late to start reversing these trends, simply step away from your phone once in a while and plan a digital detox, and you’ll be fitter, calmer and performing better in whatever you’re doing in no time.

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