The proliferation of smartphones and improved internet access has meant there is little stopping us from being on our phones all the time. A new study has shown that a physical addiction to these devices is possible and prevalent.
The study by the ‘Addictive Behaviours’ journal outlines how smartphone addiction physically affects the brain. After reviewing 48 people, the study found 22 were diagnosed with ‘smartphone addiction’ (SPA) and a control group of 26 people.
Using MRI, they monitored the participant’s brains and compared it to the control group. Those with SPA showed lower gray matter volume (GMV) in the left anterior insula, inferior temporal and parahippocampal cortex.
Lower intrinsic activity in the group with smartphone addiction was also found in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). This was reflected by both a decrease in ACC volume and activity.
Another study, the Global Digital Yearbook, compared how much screen time each country averages on a daily basis.
South Africans were found to spend an average of eight hours and 25 minutes per day on a smartphone or smart device screen, above the global average of six hours and 14 minutes.
South Africans also spend more time on social media than the global average and spend at least five hours per day in front of a laptop or PC.
This cumulative screen time made South Africa the country that spends the 6th longest time online.