Harmful to relationships
and family dynamic
Smartphones have evolved from models as
early as 1992
In July 2008, Apple launched the first iPhone
capable of Wi-Fi
connection without a
camera, photo album,
email, GPS, and
thousands of Apps
into one handy gadget
Smartphone addiction is harmful to
relationships, and is having a negative impact
on the family dynamic.
A phone that was designed to improve
communication abilities (ability to Face time,
Skype, and instant message) has actually
hindered the family dynamic and is hurting the
users ability to effectively communicate in a
Apple is not the only contributor to the
smartphone revolution. Blackberry, Samsung,
and Android are all participants.
We have started to let our technology tools break
down communication between the very people in
which we share a room.
Rather than engaging in conversation with the
individuals around you, time and energy is invested
in checking messages, social media sites, and
I know what you’re thinking…is it REALLY that big of a problem
to be constantly checking your phone?
Is there a problem?
(Google Images, 2013)
Missing out on the excitement of Life
The following video, although humorous, portrays the
reality of how reliant individuals have become with the
smartphone technology, and their inability to absorb the
world around them due to the constant distraction of
Although the ending of the video clip is ironic,
advertising a smartphone to save people from
the other brands of smartphones, there is a lot
of truth packed into that commercial.
Everywhere you go, people are isolating
themselves from those around them to spend
time in a virtual reality.
This isolation can lead to larger problems,
including affecting performance at work, loss of
friendships, unstable identity and problems
within a marriage and home.
The "I-must-have-my-phone-with-me-at-alltimes" mindset has become such a real
problem, there's now a name coined for the fear
of being without your phone:
Nomophobia…that rush of anxiety and fear
when you realize you are disconnected- out of
the loop with friends, family, work and the world
(Archer, 2013, para. 8).
Watch the following clip from an ABC
News broadcast. It highlights some of
the signs and symptoms that you may be
addicted to your smartphone.
Signs and Symptoms of an Addiction to
Do you have anxiety about going phone-less?
Are you unable to turn your phone off?
Do you worry about your battery running low?
Are you constantly checking for new emails, texts, and
Did you feel that? Your phone just vibrated, and you
felt it. Yet looking at the phone, you realize it's a false
alarm. Phantom cellphone vibration syndrome is real,
and it's a symptom of addiction.
(ABC15 Arizona, 2012)
Signs and Symptoms (Cont’d)…
Are you (or your children) failing in School? Poor
grades can often be blamed on using the
smartphone in classes. There are apps that block
social media, which may help.
Do you use your phone in the bathroom?
(ABC15 Arizona, 2012)
Asking yourself these questions will help you
identify if you are too reliant on your
The technology of a Smartphone allows for all of these functions in one
location; which in theory is convenient. However, this creates a
dependency on the device. Should the device not function properly, it
will cause the individual who is dependant to display negative
behaviours and anxiety, similar to the behaviours of withdrawal.
Experts say that Smartphone addiction is just like
being addicted to drugs or alcohol, and it should be
taken seriously (Small, 2009).
“The structural-functionalist perspective views the family as a social institution
that performs important functions for society, including reproducing new
members, regulating sexual activity and procreation, socializing the young,
and providing physical and emotional care for family members” (Mooney et
al., 2013, p. 147)
The functionalist perspective views the breakdown of the family as
one of the primary social problems in the world today.
Smart Phone addiction is negatively affecting socializing young
members, as well as the physical and emotional care for the family
members of the addict.
How is this addiction affecting the
• This video shows the emotional strain that an addiction to
smartphones can cause to the dynamic between family members.
• When a family member chooses to focus excessive time and effort on
their smartphone, it leaves the other members of that unit feeling
neglected, physically and emotionally.
• This is critical, as social-functionalism dictates that children and young
adults associate their self-worth with the interaction with other
members of society
(family members especially).
• According to expert psychologists,
smart phone addiction is so damaging
to relationships it is comparative to
having an emotional affair (Archer, 2013).
Socializing the Young…
“Some toddlers today are choosing their parents' smartphones or tablets over
dolls or Lego blocks, but some experts say too much screen time at a young
age can lead to problems” (CBC News, 2013, para. 1).
A recently released report from Common Sense Media found that 38% of kids
under age 2 have used tablets or smartphones (Krumboltz, 2013, para. 1).
Hilarie Cash, a technology addictions expert in Seattle, Wash., states that "The
younger a person starts gaming the more vulnerable they are to a severe
addiction“ (CBC News, 2013, para. 14)
This is because a young brain is highly impressionable.
When a child chooses video games over regular play,
that should be a red flag for parents, especially if the child
is under the age of 5.
The Smartphone is not a babysitter, and should not be used as
How to balance socializing the
young with technology…
Set family rules for screen time and get kids moving, through
organized sports or free-time play.
They can also set a good example for their children by limiting their
own use of technology.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that
children under the age of 2 not spend any time in front of media
screens, including phones, tablets and television .
"A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young
children learn best by interacting with people, not screens," the
AAP writes (Krumboltz, 2013, para. 7).
Remember to put down the smartphone.
Create memories with the people around
Not every single moment of your life
needs to be captured for Facebook.
Show your friends and family how much
you VALUE them by taking a break from
your phone when spending time with
Most emails or text messages can wait.
How do we prevent the onset of addiction to
How do we break the addiction?
If the addiction has become extremely severe, there
are now Rehab facilities that are popping up around
the globe to aid in overcoming this addiction
There are many behavioural changes that can be
made to ensure that you are not becoming too
dependent or addicted to the technology of a smart
The following slide highlights a few key behavioural
changes that psychologist encourage implementing
within the house and family to prevent the breakdown
of communication and prevent the onset of addictive
Create “Technology Free Zones”
As a family establish technology free zones, such as the dinner table.
This behavioural change will create more unity among family
members, and forces face-to-face communication between members.
A higher frequency of family dinners
has been associated with more positive
values and a greater commitment to
Adolescents from homes having fewer
family dinners were more likely to
exhibit high-risk behaviors, including
substance abuse, sexual activity, suicide
attempts, violence, and academic problems.
Think about your family dynamic, and
Are smartphones bringing you closer
or farther apart from your family
ABC15 Arizona. (2012, September 25). Cell phone addiction [YouTube]. Retrieved
Archer, D. (2013, July 25). Smartphone addiction: Nomophobia- fear of being
without your smartphone- affects 40% of the population. Psychology
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CBC News. (2013, April 2). Children vulnerable to smartphone, tablet
addictions. Retrieved from
CharstarleneTV. (2013, August 22). I forgot my phone [YouTube]. Retrieved from
Google Images. Smartphone addiction. Retrieved from
Krumboltz, M. (2013, October 28). Study: 38 percent of kids under 2 use
smartphones or tablets. Yahoo News. Retrieved from
Lam, Wendy. (2010, October 11). Microsoft Windows phone 7: Funny
smartphone addicts commercial [YouTube]. Retrieved from
Mooney, L. A., Holmes, M., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2013).
Understanding social problems (Custom ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson
Novotney, A. (2010, November). Surviving the media onslaught:
Psychologists’ research is pointing to ways Americans can find
balance between online and offline worlds. American
Psychological Association, Vol 41(10), 32. Retrieved from
Small, G. (2009, June 19). Is technology fracturing your family?: New
technology affects our lives and our brains. Psychology Today.
Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/readingbetween-the-headlines/201307/smartphone-addiction
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