"Problematic Smartphone Usage" is the New Scourge of the Kids

By Gary Cutlack on at

Psychiatric experts have got together to declare that smartphone addiction appears to be a very real thing, with research backing this up by identifying symptoms of "problematic smartphone usage" and behaviours mirroring those of addicts in nearly a quarter of young people. But will they still turn out OK and like normal adults?

The team at King's College London identified two key addiction-like tendencies in 23 per cent of the youngsters examined in the various global smartphone usage studies it aggregated; anxiety when the phone was taken away or its familiar form was not reassuringly touching part of the body, and over the top use of devices that leads users to miss out on other activities. Eating, sleeping, washing, that sort of thing.

They also linked PSU with sleep disorders, depression and stress, with the report's co-author Dr Ben Carter saying: "Our review assesses the effects not just of heavy use, but of dysfunctional smartphone use, and by looking at an 'addicted' pattern of behaviour towards smartphones we have established correlations between this type of dysfunctional behaviour and poorer mental health outcomes."

So maybe get those cheap Oppos and Xiaomis out of your Black Friday shopping basket. Charlie Brooker is right. [KCL via Sky News]

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