How Smartphone Affects Your Satisfaction in Life

It’s once again your smartphones are becoming more plant than your average people-based relationship, say, in physical interaction. Doing so physical interaction is getting extra if we cue the current pandemic situation. Para-social communications through social networks grant an instant door to connecting our lives to others.

Yes, it’s good but at what cost?

One-Touch Gratification

We haven’t yet mentioned how a very integral part of our life transformed into a self-consume-addicting machine just in one touch. Smartphones have been digitalized our satisfaction into instant likes, views, or cheering comments and make you taste heaven in seconds. Otherwise, total opposites such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, low self-esteem, and increase stress level have been overshadowing.

“46% said that their smartphone is something they could not live without,” based on Pew Research Center in 2015.

While smartphone use behavior might be heterogeneous, but the inability to regulate its usability eventually involves negative consequences in daily life.

“The constant checking or use of smartphone applications 24 h a day has linked to sleep disturbances, stress, anxiety, withdrawal, and deterioration in well-being, decreased academic performance, and decreased physical activity,” wrote Thomee Harenstam at BMC Public Health.

Furthermore, those destructive cycles are also associated with compulsive smartphone usage. “It has linked to leisure and satisfaction with life,” said Lepp from Kent State University. Besides, it’s getting more repetitive, dependent, and changing our emancipative values in a surface-level pleasurable behavior.

That “like, share, comment” has become a self-repeating, indispensable part of daily life. Next, it avowedly addictive, preventing individuals from self-realization in the non-digital world.

Smartphone addiction led to problematic behavior in its essence: positive evaluation of individuals. Since today, life satisfaction has transformed into sequences of the measurement of an individual’s expectation. Individuals tend to compare one another habits to set their happiness standard through what they had seen in social media. And suddenly, it has turned into a basis of endless and unrealistic happiness standards.

The concept of satisfaction implies achieving something desired, gaining emotional gratification that satisfying. Life satisfaction considers as one of the essential elements that individuals should pursue in their life and be happy with it, in terms of whole well-being cognitively.

But since desire in life satisfaction is subjective, it is hard to rationalize in a standardized way. Luckily, our digitalized world has crystalized it, considering its simultaneous subsumes in smartphone use. We get used to simplifying over the portability of it, such as make a phone call, upload a photo, instantly pay a bill, dig to music, watch a video, surf the internet, chat on social media, and, more generally: be entertained.

“All these functions have substantially improved and simplified life,” said Thomee Harenstam.

It appeared to be more intrusive because even when in silent mode, the habitual of instant relationships resulting from social fragmentations crave more and more desire to connect.

But in reality, individuals neglect to have a physical interaction instead of indulging themself to be connected online. This desire for “absent presence” has diverted via addictive non-substance communication to being entertained through void connections without consequences. And, importantly, it is addicting.

A Stressful Satisfaction

By contrast, there’s always a “sweet spot” of smartphone use. We can either be satisfied or be overwhelmed by its tendency to instant gratification and omit to quit. During the pandemic, we cling to smartphones as an indispensable tool to stay alive. Work affair, social networking with friends, and make ourselves entertained during lockdown catapult its dependency. And after all, we inevitably but nod this non-substantial addiction as an essential need in our lives and hardly prevent its risks.

The technostress, which denotes a form of stress exposed by digital information or communication, has been the central concern. Compulsive smartphone usage is frankly related to perceived stress. The perceived stress itself, however, is downstream of digital fatigue that acquires from addiction. Duran & Rey from the University of Málaga says that perceived positive stress is positively related to life satisfaction in the students regardless of academic success or failure.

Align from that, the problematic consequences alluring. Both social anxiety and loneliness happen to be more associated with digital addiction.

“Problematic attachment to smartphone devices as well as other technological devices is associated with lower social skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy, as well as increased conflict with others,” said Harris from Texas A&M University.

That also concludes the urge of technostress allegedly relating to actual social stresses. Individuals using smartphones as a coping mechanism thoroughly, as a monologue device to be more satisfied. Unfortunately, the digital space hasn’t yet an innoxious bubble, rather dangering mental health situation that might be pop anytime. Hypothetically, smartphone addiction affecting daily routines, world-view perspective, and social performance in real life.

The excessive use of smartphones can reduce the capacity to enjoy leisure. For instance, it can damage our well-being and haunts the sensory perception in the human brain thoroughly.

“The continuous flow of information and communication created by the presence of a smartphone may alter sensory perception,” wrote Misla & Stokols from Virginia Tech University. Misla added that individuals could constantly trouble concentrating and lose memorization abilities that affect well-being.

However, these hypotheses haven’t yet been evidence scientifically, with the relationship between risk of smartphone addiction, stress, and satisfaction with life. Yes, it happened to be related to one’s individuals. But once again, every case is heterogeneous. But don’t worry, we won’t leave you empty-handed.

Research Findings

Studies from Notre Dame University-Louaize in 2015 have examined the relationship variables of smartphone addiction, stress, and life satisfaction among students. The researchers deploy a random-sampling survey method involving 249 student respondents ranging between 17–26 years old, of which 54.2% were male, and other composed separate research instruments such as gender, age, education level, and academic major.

Samaha & Hawi encompassed their research section, which incorporates the Smartphone Addiction Scale-Short Version (SAS-SV), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SLS). The SAS-SV does not identify addiction but slightly manages its level of addiction risk. Besides, the PSS, along with SLS, measures perception of stress and scaling cognitive self-judgment via scalability.

Surprisingly, the research found that students with a higher level of smartphone addiction experienced higher perceived stress. It has prolonged the correlation of each variable, which shows that students with higher levels of “perceived stress” experienced low satisfaction with life. Additionally, students with smartphone addiction risk were negatively related to academic performance. But later, they were positively associated with satisfaction with life.

The research had confirmed a unique relationship between smartphone addiction and perceived stress. On one side, it happened that perhaps, smartphone addiction not much affected our academic performance, but appears to be more stretch our standard of life satisfaction. It has been telling the peculiar innate that we can regulate our smartphone consumption. No doubt we can always do both scrollings on Instagram and finishing tasks at the same time. Still, it remains a big twist to dismantle: “Do we enjoy multitasking or just expected to?”

On the other side, the research itself seems puzzling over its limits. The fact is, it didn’t come out to clarify how smartphone affects our life satisfaction instead it spiraling around privilege mid-class student. In particular, its questionnaire items still did the binary agree-disagree polar opposite. If we connect to a question, “Do we enjoy multitasking or just expected to?” — as a student, yes, we expected to. Consequently, it reflects the bias that will explode if students were answering those questionnaires.

While parents firmly assume that smartphones used could affect our GPA, sadly, this research disproves its premise. However, how can it feel so real? Perhaps, it depends on the research method and variables that are previously specified. To answer that big question, broaden variables (for example, adolescents from inter-cultural outside US/western) are needed. Considering smartphone addiction will be more affecting third world countries.

Since the study had limited to the abstraction of questionnaire items, maybe it would be more sensible if smartphone addiction preferably in qualitative research intervention. For now, if you are feeling any symptoms, self-reporting to mental health services is considered. To be noted, any grievance caused by smartphone addiction is always valid. A very psychological first-aid for your mental health is soon required.

Summing-up

The smartphone has been an integral part of our social affairs. However, it has way more decorated with the polar opposite of its use. Without self-regulating capacity, overuse of smartphones could lead to an addictive cycle of gratification. Technostress, anxiety, and depression could be haunting your life satisfaction and abuse inside-out our mental health if we were unable to restrain it.

Some researchers have agreed that there was a strong connection between smartphone addiction, stress, and life satisfaction. It was indeed not enough prior crystal clear evidence. But it has simultaneously upheld the probability that individuals have collectively suffered from it. Hence, personal awareness is more critical, and prevents any cost of damage is also the top priority to have a blissful and healthy life.

References:

  • Maya Samaha, Nazir S. Hawi, Relationships among smartphone addiction, stress, academic performance, and satisfaction with life, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 57, 2016, pp. 321–325, DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.045

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