Blame Your Friends For Your Smartphone Addiction

You're welcome for this new excuse.

Betabeat team photo. (Photo: Flickr)

Betabeat team photo. (Photo: Flickr)

Science has finally stopped being drunk and proved that dicking around on your phone is contagious. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, a person is twice as likely to pretend to look busy on their device if friends or companions are doing the same. Nobody wants to look like a loser, okay?

Study co-author Dr. Daniel Kruger and his team observed undergrads for four months at an unnamed university. The students, who didn’t know they were being watched, sat at tables for 20 minutes as researchers documented their phone usage:

Overall, the students used their phone on average a quarter of the intervals but, significantly, this increased to almost 40 per cent when their companion had just used their device during the previous 10-second interval.

“There is thus is a pattern of contagion or imitation,” he said, adding that this was generally repeated several times.

Their findings concluded that this serious condition is linked to “social inclusion and exclusion,” also known as scientific FOMO. Dr. Kruger said the students constantly checked their phones so they don’t feel “out of the loop” and the habit creates an “alternative outlet” for their attention.

Appearing to channel our father, Dr. Kruger said his findings should serve as warning for our dependence on our mobile phone usage.

“We need to get smart about smart phones,” said Dr. Kruger. “They can be a wonderfully useful technology, but we need to use them more carefully to make sure that they do not interfere with our in person social interactions.”

Don’t take our phones away, Dr. Kruger. 😦