LivingYou are not addicted to mobile, but to social...

You are not addicted to mobile, but to social relationships

We see them every day. Maybe you are even one of them, one of those people who spend hours and hours without taking their eyes off their mobile, constantly sending messages and checking every few minutes what their acquaintances share on social networks. Usually, this attitude has been considered a sample of antisocial behavior , and numerous essays have explored the psychological problems that this supposed addiction to mobile phones could entail.

However, a new study, promoted by a team of researchers from McGill University in Canada, raises the possibility that we have been misappropriating this question. Thus, in an article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology , Samuel Veissière and Moriah Stendel, from the Department of Psychiatry of the aforementioned institution, point out that, in reality, it could be an example of hypersocial behavior.


In a statement, Veissière, a specialist in cognitive anthropology, explains that this desire to observe and control others, but also to be observed and controlled by others, is firmly rooted in the evolutionary past of our species. Humans are social animals and we need relationships to reinforce our identity and to ensure that our behavior is culturally appropriate. In this sense, Veissière and Stendel have observed that all mobile addictions share a common element: the desire to connect with other people .

According to these researchers, while these devices help cope with what might be considered a normal, healthy need to socialize, they also facilitate a form of hyperconnectivity that pushes our brain’s reward system to the limit – a mechanism that makes us feel good when we carry out a certain activity -, which can favor the appearance of an addiction.


As necessary as eating

“In a post-industrial environment, where food is abundant and easily accessible, evolutionary pressure to meet our nutritional needs can lead to a drive for food that leads to the development of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In the same way, the need to interact and the use of mobile phones as a means for this can cause today a manic picture related to what we could call a form of hypersocial control ”, indicate the authors.

“In relation to this issue, a kind of sense of panic has set in,” says Veissière. “Our intention has been to offer a more optimistic point of view and emphasize that what is addictive is our desire to interact with other people, something that can be treated,” he adds. These scientists point out that, to do this, we could simply disable notifications. Initiatives that propose prohibiting the sending of emails and messages to workers outside their working hours are also very important. “More interesting than regulating the use of these devices or the role of technology companies is examining the way we use smartphones. Parents and teachers, above all, should realize its importance, ”adds Veissière.

These experts give some tips to gain control and overcome our addiction to mobile. Thus, they indicate that it is better to relax and realize that this reflects a human need, that of being in contact with others. In addition, they propose to deactivate notifications, set certain hours to consult the terminal and establish some type of protocol with family, friends and collaborators in which it is clarified what our expectations are when we communicate, how to respond or not to messages, for example.

Reference: Hypernatural monitoring: a social rehearsal account of smartphone addiction . Samuel P. Veissière and Moriah Stendel. Frontiers in Psychology (2018). doi: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2018.00141

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