Study States That 40 Percent of College Students Are Affected By Smartphone Addiction But Academics Don't Agree

A new study has found that around 40% of college students who are highly addicted to their smartphones are having a hard time getting quality sleep. But some academics, on the other hand, are strongly disagreeing.

The study comprised of 1,043 students with the age group of 18-30 and all of them belonged to the King’s College London. Among them, 406 (38.9%) appeared on the clinical tool as smartphone-addicted, and (68.7%) two-thirds of the similar number were having a hard time falling asleep every night. Whereas, the quality of sleep of those who were not addicted (57.1%) sleep peacefully with ease every night.

The research team also categorized students to be at high risk of addiction based on their usage; either after midnight or for four or more hours a day.

Participants who were finally called current addicts had no control over their phone usage and they felt distressed during the times when they didn’t have their phone with them. Almost all of them made the choice of ignoring the meaningful instances of life happening around them just because they were busy with their phones.

Furthermore, according to the co-author of the paper, Dr. Ben Carter senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience at King’s, both total screen hours and the latest use each day were critical factors in the study.

He says that the association of smartphone ‘addiction’ with the negative impact on sleep is still strong even if we adjust daily screen time use to what’s recommended or considered normal.

There were also other factors contributing to the study such as 20.3% of respondents who used their phones for two hours a day or less were still termed as addictive and also 53.9% of those respondents who use their phones for five hours daily were called addicted.

The time of putting the phone down before going to sleep had its own importance as well since among people who stop using their device at least an hour before their bedtime - 23.8% to be precise - exhibited addiction when compared to the 42% who put their phones down 30 minutes before sleeping.

For those of you who don’t remember, the King’s College of London previously also stated that 23% of children, teens, and young adults are losing it against smartphone addiction, based on their own findings.

However, after knowing all the stats, an Oxford University professor has raised an important issue against the concept of smartphone addiction.

Professor Andrew Przybylski, associate professor, senior research fellow, and director of research, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford has pinpointed that ‘smartphone addiction’ for now isn’t a condition that is recognized by any global health body or even called as a psychiatric disorder. Hence, the claim by authors makes no sense because the ones studying technology ‘addictions’ first don’t use valid scales for clinical samples or they also don’t carry out any studies to support the idea of ‘smartphone addiction’.

The professor thinks that readers should be very careful about believing in any assumptions that revolve around the impact of smartphone usage in general.

Nevertheless, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the problem of over usage of smartphones back in 2018 and as a result, they also introduced the feature of Screen Time so that people should be more aware of the hours they spend on screens.

Academically, the concept of smartphone addiction is still under debate whether it should reasonably be considered as a genuine addiction or a psychiatric condition.

Photo: Yiu Yu Hoi / Getty Images

H/T: TG.

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