Psychiatrist: Smartphone addiction is something very real

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Smartphone addiction is a real problem according to Dr. Mark Murphy, a psychiatrist with St. Luke's Behavioral Health.

"I worry that social interaction on that level in favor of social interaction on a global level, which is cool, but it's getting in the way of face-to-face," he said.

Smartphone usage in America is at an all-time high. Smartphone penetration reachesup to 85% of the U.S. population. That's more than 270 million Americans who own a smartphone. Dr. Mark Murphy says social media apps is one of the ways you can become addicted to your phone, and that addiction side of things is reality.

"I know that the social media platforms believe it so because they gear their software in a way that promotes addiction," Murphy said.

Through social media apps the addiction can set in, in part because of how most people seek out ways to be connected to one another.

"We're social creatures by nature," Dr. Murphy said. "We like to be connected. There's a lot of data out there that says the average person has a 150 people in their life at at any one point in one or another, and cell phones facilitate that times 10."

Today, Americans view their smartphones an average of 52 times per day. Eighty-five percent of smartphone users will also check their device in the middle of conversations with friends or family.

Dr. Murphy says one of the ways to cut down on becoming addicted to smartphone is to only program in use at specific times, along with balancing in a person's wants with needs.

"I want to know that I'm getting responses from my family friends or whatever," Dr. Murphy says. "But I do it in a programmed way where I check 'X' number of times a day but no more."

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