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Walsh and colleagues noted a critical aspect of phone involvement is feeling connected to others by using your cell phone. I grew up when you waited to make a long-distance phone call until after 10 on Sundays when the rates dropped.Feeling a need to be socially connected hardly seems like an addiction to me. Staying constantly in touch with your entire circle of friends may be the new norm in tech-land.These young people can’t wait to respond to their phones, use them at inappropriate times, consider their phones as part of themselves, think about and check their phones constantly, and are distressed if their phones aren’t near. Teens and young adults are natives in the land of technology.They have grown up with cell phones and the internet.Mobile phone involvement included measures such as keeping your phone nearby, thinking frequently about your phone, interrupting activities to respond to your phone, feeling distressed without your phone, and being unable to reduce phone use.Both sets of researchers noted that cell phone use is risky in some situations, such as driving (a point I’ve made in other blog posts: see Texting Zombies and Unicycling Clowns).And if being constantly in touch through your cell phone is normal, then it probably isn’t an addiction.I have been working with all sorts of technologies way before the Internet existed.

Shari Walsh and her colleagues (Walsh, White, Cox, and Young, 2011) have conducted surveys about phone use and attitudes in teens and young adults. Science may now be catching up to the media concerns. The alarms have been raised about the number of texts sent each day, about the consequences of sexting, and concerning the places where people use their phones.Most students wanted to text now and pass on the extra money that would come with waiting.Texting immediately was more important than extra money.

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