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Canada: Why Checking Your Text Messages Could Cost You Friends
Source: theprovince.com
Source Date: Friday, November 30, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Canada
Created: Dec 03, 2012

A new study finds text messaging to be equal to other consumer-related addictions. On average, people aged 18 to 29 send on average 109.5 texts a day, or about 3,200 messages a month. They receive 113 texts and check their phones 60 times in a typical day.

Young adults have been found to spend up to seven hours a day using communication technology. For some, it can become a compulsion, while others suffer feelings of withdrawal if they are separated from their phone, a study found.

The addiction can also prove extremely annoying to those around them.

Dr James Roberts, of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business in Texas, said that the “instant messaging” addiction was driven by materialism and impulsiveness.

“Mobile phones are a part of our consumer culture,” Dr Roberts said.

“They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They’re also eroding our personal relationships.”

He said that getting hooked on a cellphone is similar to other addictions, such as compulsive buying.

The study is the first to investigate the role that materialism plays in cellphone addiction. The researchers said that materialism affected many decisions made by consumers, including their choice and use of cellphones.

They said the study was driven by a belief that because cellphone use had become so common it was important to have a better understanding of what drove such technological addictions.

Previous studies have found that people aged 18 to 29 send on average 109.5 texts a day, or about 3,200 messages a month. They receive 113 texts and check their phones 60 times in a typical day.

Students spend about seven hours a day interacting with information and communication technology.

The study for the Journal of Behavioural Addictions used data from 191 business students and two universities, as mobiles are used by about 90 per cent of students for “more than just a utilitarian purpose”, Dr Roberts said. The ability to access cell phones at any time and their ever-expanding functions make their use or overuse more likely, it was found.

Researchers said that a majority of young people claimed that losing their phone would be “disastrous to their social lives”.

Dr Roberts said: “At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss such aberrant cellphone use as merely youthful nonsense — a passing fad.

“But an emerging body of literature has given increasing credence to cellphone addiction and similar behavioural addictions.”

The addiction has even been given a slightly tongue-in-cheek name — nomophobia. The term was created by British researchers in 2008 to identify people who experience anxiety when without access to mobile technology.

A previous study showed that young people were so addicted to their cellphones that it felt like they had lost a limb when they were without them.

Some said they felt so bereft without their iPhone or BlackBerry that it evoked similar feelings to the “phantom limb” syndrome suffered by amputees, found the study conducted at the University of Maryland.
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