Smartphones are addicting, some C. Oregonians say

Are you afraid of not having your phone?

Smartphone Addiction

BEND, Ore. - How many times a day do you look at your phone? If you're an average adult, the number iss somewhere between 50 and 300 times. 

"Nomophobia" is a 21st century term for "the fear of not being able to use your cell phone or other smart device." It stands for "No MObile PHOne phoBIA."

And that fear is fueling the smartphone addiction. According to experts, when our phone makes a noise or vibrates with a notification, cells in our brain release dopamine. That dopamine makes us feel good, often even more so than the text or email itself. Those notifications and that feeling can cause people to check their phones over and over again; looking for the same high. 

Many people in Bend said they see examples of smartphone addiction every day -- including Judy Darst, who notices it especially with her teenage grandchildren.

"I've got two grandchildren who are, you see them twice a year and they're sitting (looking at their phones), and it's really sad, and I don't know how they interact with other people," Darst said Monday.

A new study on high school students, published in the journal Emotion, found that teens who spend five or more hours a day online outside of school work were twice as likely to say they're unhappy. That includes texting, gaming, searching the internet or using social media.

Larissa Spafford of Bend said she sees smartphone addiction constantly.

"Everybody walks around with their smartphones. I see people walking down the streets with their smartphones. I feel like if smartphones weren't around, we'd take more time to talk to each other," Spafford said.

Rich Viebrok, 24, said he's fortunate to spend time with friends who aren't addicted to their phones, but he sees people who are.

"I'd say just being in social settings and just directly interacting with individuals who are just so consumed by what's on their phone, that in and of itself leads me think there is an addiction," Viebrok said. "An immediate negative impact is there is less interaction with the folks directly around you."

According to experts, there are several ways to know that your smartphone use is becoming a problem:

1. It's making you stay up too late or gets in the way of sleep.
2. It reduces the amount of time you have to be with friends or family.
3. It interferes with your ability to finish work.
4. It causes you to be rude.
5. It's negatively affecting your creativity.

Some ways to cut back on your phone time include using an old-fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone, delete social media and turn off your notifications.

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