The cell phone has become the adult people’s transitional object, taking the place of a toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging. Margaret Heffernan
Cell phones have become something we cannot go without. Actually, the number of cell phone subscriptions exceeds the total population of the planet. It turns out that mobile phones and the internet have a high likelihood of addiction. However, the portability of smartphones might put them at higher risk of becoming addictive. New research reveals that there’s a psychological reason for such phone dependence. According to the attachment theory, some people think that the cell phone has the same function as their favorite teddy bear in childhood.
Why some of us become addicted to cell phones?
Veronika Konok, of the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, states that a cell phone might serve as a “compensatory attachment” object. However, she gives evidence which confirms the opinion that “healthy people also report significant emotional attachment to special objects.”
People who have attachment style are more dependant on their phones.
Eunyoung Koh of Kyungil University along with a scientific team have examined the matter. They researched the relationship between attachment styles and smartphone addiction. The team studied 376 Korean youths and university students. The scientists declared that youths who have an avoidant attachment style could become addicted to their smartphone more easily. These young people were likely to use smartphones to satisfy their need for attachment. Hence smartphones served as objects of attachment as stated above.
Cell phones might serve as transitional objects.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone, who did not take part in the research mentioned above, explains the behavior of avoidant people. She says they could become distant. They think that the way to satisfy their needs is to pretend they don’t have needs at all.
Avoidant people would find a partner who lives up to their maladaptive criteria.
This is most probably someone who isn’t the perfect choice to make them happy. On a side note, emotional attachment styles are also linked to the so-called comfort or transitional objects. A toddler’s teddy bear or toy substitute their mom. And a phone could replace a person.
“People often concentrate on the problematical behavior caused by the use of smartphones. There is less attention on how smartphone addiction works,” said Koh.
Eunyoung Koh also said the research had paid particular attention to the people having an avoidant attachment on purpose. Koh’s team wanted to reveal the psychological motives causing smartphone dependence in such people. The scientists examined the problem beyond the endless mania related to pictures, posts, status or news and followers’ comments on social media which are easily accessed from our cell phone at any time.
The scientists concluded that low self-esteem or anxiety are likely to result in smartphone use dependence.
They stated that young people with higher levels of avoidant attachment had a phobia of commitment — they disliked intimacy and tended not to believe others. These problems, as well as low self-esteem and anxiety, would make the youths feel more attached to their smartphones to the point where they would finally get addicted to it.
The research has some weak points.
Nonetheless, since the study was carried out on a small number of people (376), it had some obvious flaws that the researchers had to admit. Koh says that more detailed examination is needed to prove the reliability of the results. He thinks it is necessary to explore other areas, societies, or races.
Children start using cell phones at a very early age which is disturbing.
Koh also brings up one of the most disturbing issues of our contemporary civilization. Millennials and all babies born after them tend to become familiar with technology at a very early age. And they won’t stop using it from the very first moment their parents buy them a smartphone for example. What is more, many people born before millennials fall into the category of keen smartphone users too.
“The age for kids receiving their first smartphone is getting younger,” states Koh, “it is important to examine whether this model is confirmed at a younger age. Smartphones might well be the toys of the future. “
A more positive view on cell phone use.
Ph.D. student David Markowitz, has examined people’s psychological states at the moments they are in proximity to their phones. According to him our need for cell phones “fundamentally expresses the potential to be social.”Provided that people aren’t using it in the stead of connecting IRL -which is the conclusion of Koh and his team.
Decades of research conclude that avoidant attachment style affects life in all possible aspects.
And It is now becoming apparent it also impacts cell phone use. From the research mentioned above it becomes clear that to beat smartphone addiction, people might need to fight issues like insecurity, anxiety, and avoidant attachment style.