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Patterns of Compulsive Smartphone ­se Suggest How to Kick the Habit

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Compulsive smartphone use.

Researchers at the University of Washington found four common triggers for the compulsive use of smartphones, as well as some common triggers that end compulsive phone use.

Credit: Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Researchers at the University of Washington conducted a study to determine why people compulsively check their phones, identifying a series of triggers, common across age groups, that start and end habitual smartphone use.

The researchers also examined user-generated solutions to end undesirable phone use.

The team interviewed three groups of smartphone users: high school students, college students, and college graduates.

The researchers found four common triggers for the compulsive use of smartphones: unoccupied moments, like time spent waiting for a friend to show up; tedious and repetitive tasks; socially awkward situations, and when a message or notification is anticipated.

The researchers also discovered common triggers that ended compulsive phone use, which include competing demands from the real world, realization of extended phone use, and repetitive content.

From University of Washington
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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