Is Technology Destroying Your Health?

African American Black woman sad serious using a laptop in her living room
Are you always checking your phone while you’re waiting in line at the supermarket, or stopped at a traffic light? Do you dig around for it in your purse and place it on the restaurant table as soon as you’re seated?

Well, you may be addicted to your phone.

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According to a new study smart phone users can develop what they call “checking habits,” and like most habits it’s not so easy to break.

The research, published in the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, reported that habitual checking for messages lasts less than 30 seconds and is usually done at intervals of ten minutes. Most folks with this habit end up compulsively checking their device an average of 34 times a day, and often don’t even realize they’re doing it.

What’s the draw? Neuroscientists say each time we get an email or text message our brains receive a tiny jolt of positive reinforcement. It feels so good we want to do it again – and again. Once our brains get used to this feedback, checking the phone becomes automatic, like snacking during the movies.