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'Technoference' Is Making Our Lives More Sluggish, Study Finds




New research shows 1 out of 5 women lose sleep because of the time they spend on their smartphones, versus 1 in 8 men


QUEENSLAND, Australia – Smartphones are draining the number of hours we sleep, making us less productive, and might even make some people feel physically worse in general, according to results of new Australian

Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology say that women are particularly affected by the effects of "technoference," or problems that arise from too much phone time. The survey was administered to 709 mobile phone users between 18 and 83 in 2018, with questions stemming from a similar survey by the group in 2005.

"When we talk about technoference we are referring to everyday intrusions and interruptions that people experience due to mobile phones and their usage, "says Dr. Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, of QUT's Center for Accident Research and Road Safety, in a media release.

In comparison to the original survey, the authors found that 1

9.5 percent of women lost their time spent sleeping on their phones, compared to 11.8 percent of men. These figures are significantly higher than the original survey, when just 2.3 percent of women and 3.2 percent of men felt the same way.

NEW!

Today, the research shows that 24 percent of women and 15 percent of men could now be classified as " problematic mobile phone users. "The youngest segment of the group was particularly at risk. "This finding suggests that mobile phones are potentially increasingly affecting aspects of daytime functioning due to lack of sleep and increasing dereliction of responsibilities," says Oviedo-Trespalacios .

Many participants agree that they are getting far less done each day than they did in 2005. The authors found that 12.6 percent of men felt they were less productive, compared to 0 percent survey. For women, 14 percent also felt a drop in productivity versus 2.3 percent in 2005. In fact, 14 percent of women and 8.2 percent of men go as far as trying to hide the amount of time they're staring at their phone screens, an admission rate of 3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

Technoference affects more than just our mental state. Respondents were even feeling more aches and pains that they believe are a result of smartphone use. That's the case, at least, for 8.4 percent of women (up from 3 percent) and 7.9 percent of men (up from 1.6 percent)

"Rapid technological innovations over the past few years have led to dramatic changes in today's mobile phone technology – which can improve the quality of life for phone users but also result in some negative outcomes, "says Oviedo-Trespalacios. "These include anxiety and, in some cases, engaging in unsafe behaviors with serious health and safety implications such as mobile phone distracted driving."

Meanwhile, 25.9 percent of women and 15.9 percent of men would actually use their phone rather than deal with real-life priorities – up from 3.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

Interestingly, and perhaps for the better, fewer participants noted that they could not actually afford to pay their monthly phone bill compared to the original study in 2005.

Researchers say that more than 2.5 billion people worldwide are estimated to own a smartphone in 2019.

The study's findings are published in the journal. Frontiers in Psychiatry.


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