Are we slaves to our smartphones?

18 August 2017

Take part in Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey - an online project for National Science Week led by cyber-psychology expert from the University of Sydney, Dr Andrew Campbell. 

Man waiting for a train with a mobile phone in his hand.

How much time do we spend on our smartphones every day? Does it help us connect or disconnect with people? And could we live without it?

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey is asking people to share how they use their smartphone and what impact this ubiquitous device is having on their life.

Dr Andrew Campbell, an expert in cyber-psychology from the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Sydney says that recent studies show that we check our phones between 85 and 130 times a day - sometimes much more.

 “We are more reliant on our smartphones than any other forms of computing technology at present, and having access to mobile devices 24/7 is having a huge impact on our lives,” he said.

Last year 84 per cent of Australians owned a smartphone and among young people, that figure was 94 per cent. Even one in three children under 12 years now own a smartphone.
Dr Andrew Campbell, cyber-psychology expert

“The question is, are our phones improving or detracting from our quality of life?

“Being connected to a stream of news or social media may be having impact on our cognitive functioning and social behaviour across the lifespan.  

“We’re at risk of a growing ‘digital zombie’ community - that is, being connected online all the time but not really living a full and healthy life that is disconnected from the digital world.

 “In an era where FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is driving tech use, we need to understand the short and long-term effects of being connected online indefinitely.

“We must therefore recognise the pitfalls of the technology, just as much as we need to recognise its benefits.

“Smartphones are here to stay – the Smartphone Survey will help us learn more about how people may use them productively. In turn, this will give us information on ways we can become less obsessed with all the functions they can connect us to at any given moment like email, social media, text messages”.

About the survey:

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey is the online national project for National Science Week 2017, undertaken by ABC Science with funding through the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy.

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Medicine and Health)

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