Mobile phone overuse

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Mobile phone overuse is an issue seen among certain mobile phone users. (Doctors call the issue "problem mobile phone use".)

Some laypeople claim that there can even be such a thing as a "mobile phone addiction". However, most doctors do not use any such diagnostic phrase. There is no consensus among doctors that "mobile phone addiction" would be a useful diagnosis.


("Measuring Problematic Mobile Phone Use: Development and Preliminary Psychometric Properties of the PUMP Scale" includes one possible working definition.)



There is an enormous impact of the mobile phone on contemporary society from a social scientific perspective. In the book Perpetual contact: mobile communication, private talk, public performance[1] the author James E. Katz, PhD, writes: "They have transformed social practices and changed the way we do business, yet surprisingly we have little perception on their effect in our li[ves]."

Some people are replacing face-to-face conversations with cybernetic ones. Clinical psychologist Lisa Merlo says, "Some patients pretend to talk on the phone or fiddle with apps to avoid eye contact or other interactions at a party."[2] In a survey made by Gazelle, "More than 25% of respondents reported that they "almost always" use their smartphone while in a social setting such as during a meal or during a party. In addition, 58% said they use it ‘usually’ or ‘occasionally’ during these settings."[3] Furthermore,

  • 70% check their phones in the morning within just one hour of getting up
  • 56% check their phones before going to bed
  • 48% check their phones over the weekend
  • 51% constantly check their phones during vacation
  • 44% reported they would feel very anxious and irritable if they don't interact with their phones within a week[4]

People are substituting, on a grand scale, the valuable experience of chatting with people face-to-face with simply sending them a text that consists of a few words and abbreviations. The real time reaction isn’t there; there is a sense that there is a lack of reality, which has been replaced by a virtual reality. This evidently results in people who don’t know how to act when they’re not using their cell phones.[5]


There is little evidence supporting the claim that excessive cellphone use can cause or worsen health problems, but it is undeniable that it does affect users in many ways, physical and mental. Germs are everywhere, and with the number of times people interact with their cellphone under different circumstances and places, germs are very likely to transfer from one place to another. Research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine at Queen Mary in 2011 indicated that one in six cell phones is contaminated with fecal matter. Under further inspection, some of the phones with the fecal matter were also harbouring lethal bacteria such as E. coli, which can result in fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.[6] Cancer, specifically brain cancer, and its correlation with phone use, is an ongoing investigation. There are many variables that affect the likelihood of hosting cancerous cells that includes how long people use their phones and how frequently they do so. There has been no clear evidence indicating the link between cancer and phone use if used moderately, but research from the World Health Organization said that heavy usage will more likely increase the risk of developing glioma tumours—a common benign tumour, a rare but deadly form of cancer. Although a relationship has not been legitimately established, research is continuing based on leads from changing patterns of mobile phone use over time and habits of phone users.[7]

Please see Mobile phones and driving safety, BlackBerry thumb, Mobile phone radiation and health, and Mobile phone#Health effects.


There are concerns that some mobile phone users incur considerable debt, and that mobile phones are being used to violate privacy and to harass others.[8] In particular, there is increasing evidence that mobile phones are being used as a tool by children to bully other children.

Also, using a cell phone before bed can cause insomnia, according to a study by scientists from the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden and from Wayne State University in Michigan. The study[9][non-primary source needed] showed that this is due to the radiation received by the user as stated, "The study indicates that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals, components of sleep believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear are adversely affected."

There is countless research on mobile phone use and its influence on the human’s psychological mind, indicating support for mobile phones as good and bad. Referring to the possible negative outcomes of mobile phone use, we may encounter stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression, especially in young adults. Consistent phone use can cause a chain reaction, affecting one aspect of a user’s life and expanding to contaminate the rest. It usually starts with social disorders, which can lead to depression and stress and ultimately affect lifestyle habits such as sleeping right and eating right.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Katz, J. E., & Akhus, M. Perceptual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  2. ^ Gibson, E. (27 July 2011). Smartphone dependency: a growing obsession with gadgets. Retrieved 27 September 2013 from USA Today website: open access publication - free to read
  3. ^ Belardi, B. (Ed.). (18 June 2012). Consumers Crave iPhone More Than Facebook, Sex. Retrieved 15 October 2013 from PR Newswire website: open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ Perlow, Leslie A. (2012). Sleeping with your smartphone : how to break the 24/7 habit and change the way you work. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press. ISBN 9781422144046. 
  5. ^ a b Thomée, Sara; Härenstam, Annika; Hagberg, Mats (2011). "Mobile phone use and stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression among young adults - a prospective cohort study". BMC Public Health 11 (1): 66. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-66. 
  6. ^ Britt, Darice (June 2013). "Health Risks of Using Mobile Phones". South Carolina University. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Sinhna, Kounteya (18 May 2010). "Cell overuse can cause brain cancer". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Bianchi, Adriana; Phillips, James G. (2005). "Psychological Predictors of Problem Mobile Phone Use". Cyberpsychology & Behavior (New York: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.) 8 (1). doi:10.1089/cpb.2005.8.39. 
  9. ^ Arnetz, Bengt B.; Hillert, Lena; Åkerstedt, Torbjörn; Lowden, Arne; Kuster, Niels; Ebert, Sven; Boutry, Clementine; Moffat, Scott D.; Berg, Mats; Wiholm, Clairy. Effects from 884 MHz mobile phone radiofrequency on brain electrophysiology, sleep, cognition, and well-being, Referierte Publikationen, Chicago, 2008. open access publication - free to read[non-primary source needed]

Further reading[edit]