It’s true, we’re addicted to smartphones

Noah Kravitz is in recovery. The moment he woke up, he used to reach for his smartphone to check e-mails, Twitter and news. “I’d check e-mail and Twitter obsessively throughout the day on the phone as well,” Kravitz says. “Sometimes I snuck off to do it in private because I was in a social situation where I’d find it annoying if someone else pulled their phone out, or because I didn’t want to get ‘caught’ checking e-mail yet again.”

Kravitz, a technology journalist in California, suffers from smartphone addiction. Now he’s aware of it and is trying to cure it by stopping himself from reaching for his phone.

And Kravitz is far from the only smartphone junkie. In a recent survey of Stanford University students, 10 percent of iPhone users categorized themselves as full-blown addicts. Sixty-nine percent have their iPhone with them in bed, while 41 percent said the loss of their iPhone would be tragic.  Only 6 percent said they were not addicted at all.

A recent experiment at the University of Maryland asked 200 students to give up all media for a day. After 24 hours, many showed withdrawal symptoms.

Internet addiction is not an official disorder, and neither is smartphone addiction. But extrapolating the Stanford figures suggests millions of people around the world are now severely fixated on their phones.

“Thanks to smartphones, Internet addiction will keep increasing,” notes Dr. Hilarie Cash, founder of the pioneering ReSTART camp for Internet addicts. “And smartphone addiction is potentially more dangerous than mere Internet addiction, because now you can have your drug with you at all times.”

Smartphones, coupled with Facebook, present a radical change in internet addiction, a condition that used to be limited to game-playing men.

“Today the Internet obsession has spread to girls, and they’re obsessed with Facebook,” notes Dr. Jane Morris, a psychiatrist in Edinburgh. “That’s even more dangerous than online gaming, because it’s not a fantasy world. You have to seem glamorous and have lots of friends. Facebook obsession affects all kinds of girls.”

Since becoming aware of his addiction, Kravitz sees his symptoms in others.

“Lots of people are expected by their employers to keep their smartphones turned on and at the ready around the clock,” he notes. “There are so many compelling reasons to chain yourself to your smartphone. … But at what point do those ‘good reasons’ morph into ‘excuses for addiction’?”

60 seconds with …

Ryan Van Cleave, professor, former Internet addict

How did you become addicted to the internet?

I played World of Warcraft. Because it has players around the world, it goes on when you’re not there. I felt an obligation to my online character to always play. I played 50-60 hours a week. My wife complained, I lost my job and I didn’t see my children growing up. But none of that mattered to me. Playing seemed a very reasonable thing to do.

What did it take to get rid of the addiction?

Once I was driving with my family at Christmas, and all I could think of was that we needed to pull over at an Internet hot spot. My wife got angry, and I took a walk to cool off. I walked by a river and all of a sudden wanted to jump in because I hated the person I’d become. I quit, but I had withdrawal symptoms. I lost my friends online, and because of the addiction I didn’t really have any real-life friends. The sad thing is that this is becoming a global epidemic, and people don’t know where to go for help.


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.


PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.