Cell phones have become a big part of our lives. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults own a cellphone. In a recent study by digitatrends com adults are spending 4

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Cell phones have become a big part of our lives. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults own a cellphone. In a recent study by digitatrends.com adults are spending 4.7 hours on their phone a day or approximately 23 whole days per year.
Given the amount of time adults spend on their cells, perhaps you would rather read this article online using your Smartphone, or maybe you are going to put this article down because you’d rather be texting or on social media right now. Is it possible then, that adults are addicted to their cell phones? Dr. Cameron Wilcox, a psychiatrist from Marquette says that question is a very good one.
“There are a few types of addiction. One is an addiction to a medication and those kind of people, when they stop getting that medication they feel really bad and their body changes and then there is something where people just enjoy doing something and they feel bad when they are not doing it, so being addicted to the cellphone falls more into that second category, where people just can’t stop doing something they like quite a bit.”
Adults use their cell phones for work, reading and sending emails and text messages, which contribute to the hours logged on their phones, but some still can’t seem to put them down during their free time, because they enjoy the social interaction, connection and mental stimulation a smartphone can provide.
“Usually people have addictive behaviors around things that they really enjoy doing or that makes them feel good, when they do them,” Dr. Wilcox said. “So if someone is using their cell phone and they get a lot of positive responses from that, say they see likes on facebook, they feel good about it, they want to go back and keep doing those things they feel good about.”
An online article published by PsychCentral lists not being able to put down a cell phone while engaged in a conversation with a significant other or friends, running up huge bills or having irrational reactions to being without a cellphone as signs of having a cell phone addiction.
So just what are adults doing on these phones of theirs that makes them so hard to put down? Heather Lander, Ishpeming resident, and mother of a toddler, said she uses her phone for a lot of things.
“I use my phone for text messaging and honestly I rarely even go on my actual computer anymore. I use it for facebook and Pinterest and stuff like that,” Lander said.
Kelsey Boldt, a librarian at the Ishpeming Carnegie Library says she mainly uses her cell phone for communication purposes.
“I do have a phone and I use it primarily to call people and to text people, but I also sometimes look stuff up, use it for navigation, that sort of thing.”
Lander feels she may be using her phone too much but also appreciates it as a convenience in today’s modern world.
“My husband and I have talked about not having smart phones anymore and I honestly don’t think I could go back, now from having a cell phone. It would be too hard. How am I going to get a map? How am I going to check the weather? You know all those things besides facebook and social media that I feel like I do all the time. I don’t think I could go back to not having a cell phone. It is for me something I do try to be mindful of because I do sometimes think I have a problem of using it too much and I do try to think about it and use it even less than I do now. I think I used it a lot more when Lucy was a little baby, just because I was holding her all the time and I think that’s when it got to be maybe worse because when I had her and she was just little I was home on maternity leave, I was just always on there and it was easy, you could do it with one hand.”
Boldt wouldn’t feel comfortable without her smartphone at her fingertips because she would miss several apps that make answering everyday questions so much easier.
“I like to think that I don’t use my phone very much, but I think if I had to go back to using maps, like actual maps, not Googling what movies are playing while I’m on the go I think I would probably would have a very long withdrawal period.”
There have been numerous news stories about kids and cell phones and how much time kids and older teens spend texting their friends and how much time they spend on social media, and what parents can do to curb the excessive time their kids spend on smartphones, but it is clear that adults are guilty of the same behaviors.
Annabella Martinson, age 11, a fifth grader a Sandy Knoll Elementary in Marquette said that depending on the day, her parents spend too much time on their phones.
“ They maybe sacrifice quality with me. We could be outside more, hanging out and doing active stuff as a family.”
Tori Wiese, a junior at Marquette Senior High said teens aren’t the only ones who engage in the dangerous activity of texting while driving.
“I’ve seen a lot more adults text and drive than any of my friends or peers. I think part of the reason adults are more lax about it is because as kids growing up with the rise of tech, we’ve had it drilled into our heads in school to never text and drive. Adults haven’t grown up with that.”
Dr. Wilcox suggested that if adults or kids feel that they are addicted to spending too much time on their smartphone there are steps you can take to cut back usage.
“Set up some times where you don’t use a cell phone, maybe put it away after you get home from school or work and not use it, or another thing that helps is if you get other people in your family to help out too. So, if you have say your mom, your dad or your kids say ‘I’m using my cell phone too much, can you help me and tell me when I’m doing it too much,’ maybe they can help you out. People are more likely to change their behavior then. “

Smartphone technology does help simplify lives. Smartphones can connect people to the world around them, but at the same time can disconnect people from family and friends. Kids and adults are both guilty of overusing their phones, but perhaps tonight is the night to put the phone down and unplug.

Written by Abby Pierce, 16, Angel O’Connell, 15, Calli Solka, 13, Jadynn Clement, 12, Brandon O’Brien, 12, Liam Ulland-Joy 10, and Madelyn Reader, 9.

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