Behavioural Economist Brings Surprising Conclusions Regarding Smartphone Addiction

Behavioural Economist Brings Surprising Conclusions Regarding Smartphone Addiction

Let’s admit it, many of us are addicted to smartphones. The little gadgets had become so useful that perhaps the only way not to spend too much time using one is not owning a smartphone at all. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you ask us.

We humans are tempted to believe that if something becomes an addiction, it’s bad for us in a way or another. Booze and cigarettes destroy our health, video games are believed to make some children more violent, and so on. But as long as you’re addicted to your smartphone not for spending countless hours on total unproductive stuff such as watching amusing memes on social networks, it should be ok.

But what exactly means “too many hours”? Perhaps everyone has his own definition of “too much”.

Lena Song sheds light

The “Indicator for Planet Money” show of NPR invited the behavioural economist Lena Song for a talk. The goal was to find out exactly when smartphone usage becomes an addiction.

Credit:, David Schwarzenberg
Credit:, David Schwarzenberg

After a study involving 2,000 volunteers, Lena Song has some interesting conclusions, as revealed by

• Participants were disposed to pay money for having their phone functions limited.
• Addiction is divided into two parts: self-control and habit formation.
• 31% of the phone use of the participants was attributed to problems of self-control.
• It’s hard to control phone use because it has become routine for many, like in the case of drinking coffee in the morning.

The average American adult spends over four hours a day using a smartphone. Is it too much? Maybe yes. However, there’s plenty of hope in case you want to get rid of smartphone addiction. Lena Song said that we could rely on commitment devices like blocking apps for overcoming the compulsion to verify the phone constantly.

How about you? How many hours are you spending each day while using your phone? Do you consider the process as addiction and would like to get rid of it? Feel free to tell us in a comment!


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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