The smartphone is crouched beside the sofa like a temperamental pet, begging for attention. In fact, the plan was to lie on the sofa and read. But after a few pages of the book, the nervous phone pings, Tüddeldü, or hums. A push message (incidence is high), a message in one of the many messengers (invitation to the parents’ table) or a notification from a social network (someone expresses evil in the name of good) urging you to press a smartphone. Half an hour passed, I forgot the book and the mood was as uneasy as the cell phone network during a snowmobile trip. Again idling around doodling rather than well-reading. Only this dreaded smartphone blocks the path to happiness!
This view is clear, as the digital number in general and the smartphone in particular tend to destroy the soul. But it doesn’t seem so simple. Psychologists just finished about Lisa Walsh from UCLA published a studySuggesting that digital fasting and giving up a smartphone have positive effects, but these are minor effects – and giving up seems to have some negative side effects, small ones as well. So what now?
To date, there are still a surprising number of unanswered questions about the psychological effects of using smartphones and social media. Most studies only report associations and can say little or nothing about infections. This way, you can actually choose what fits your current opinions from the research literature. Smartphones and social media promote depression and harm health. Or: Smartphones and social media do not have a significant impact on mental health and can enhance well-being. The two research groups simply interpreted the same evidence differently, according to psychologist Walsh.
So in order to clarify the question of the effects of smartphone use to some extent, the researchers organized an experiment that was straightforward for their study. For just over a week, participants had to either significantly reduce their smartphone use or largely forgo social network visits. The psychologists then compared the effects with several control groups. Smartphone fasting increased feelings of independence, increased self-confidence, focus, and satisfaction, even if only to a small extent. Avoiding social media had fewer effects. Well-being did not increase, and depressive tendencies did not improve. Instead, participants reported a slight increase in negative sensations.
Digital fasting does not guarantee happiness either. Keep calm and carry on, this is the conclusion of psychologists. However, it would be a good idea to focus on reading a book again. But you can just leave the smartphone in another room or at least prevent digital pets from making any sounds.
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