Do you never leave a room without your phone in your hand? Do you check Facebook or other social media in your bedroom at night? Tell fibs about how long you spend on it?
If so you could be a victim of smartphone or internet addiction.
It has recorded a 160% rise in women needing help for internet-based addiction in the past two years. Last year it treated almost a third of the it’s private and NHS patients for the problem and most were women who find themselves unable to stop using social media or playing games on their phones or computers.
They feel anxious, irritable or depressed when they can’t use the internet and put it before basic needs. Last year the company helped 475 women and 375 men, up from 180 women and 220 men in 2015.
They are not sure why there is a gender difference but it could be because women are more likely to be at home with children or unemployed.
Most patients were in their 30s or 40s, younger people understand the internet better, said Eytan Alexander the company’s founder. “It’s about escapism and we see female patients using drugs to enable them to stay up into the night to play games on their phones or stay on social media”.
The World Health Organisation recently declared that “gaming disorder” was a new mental health condition.
The government is also concerned about the effect of this on children who see their parents, and particularly their mothers, as role models.
They are advising parents to leave their phones in the kitchen at night to set a good example to their children. They also advise that all computers should be turned off two hours before bedtime and no internet in the bedroom! And that applies to smart phones too which should be a no-no in kids’ bedrooms.
They want parents to be stricter to combat mobile phone addiction and show them how to use the internet safely. By 2020 young children from age 4 will be taught in schools about the perils of social media.
I’ve posted may times before about the dangers of social media and the way it effects your health and the clever ways designers use to get you addicted e.g. likes and streaks, just like a slot machine randomly reinforcing you behaviours.