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After all, it’s rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to.

Smartphone addiction can encompass a variety of impulse-control problems, including: Virtual relationships.

Staring at your phone will deny you the face-to-face interactions that can help to meaningfully connect you to others, alleviate anxiety, and boost your mood.

Smartphone or Internet addiction can also negatively impact your life by: Increasing loneliness and depression.

While it may seem that losing yourself online will temporarily make feelings such as loneliness, depression, and boredom evaporate into thin air, it can actually make you feel even worse.

Online compulsions, such as gaming, gambling, stock trading, online shopping, or bidding on auction sites like e Bay can often lead to financial and job-related problems.

While gambling addiction has been a well-documented problem for years, the availability of Internet gambling has made gambling far more accessible.

While you can experience these impulse-control problems with a laptop or even desktop computer, the size and convenience of smartphones and tablets means that we can take them just about anywhere and gratify our compulsions.

In fact, studies suggest that most of us are rarely ever more than five feet from our smartphones.

You may purchase things you don’t need and can’t afford just to experience the excitement of placing the winning bid. Compulsive web surfing, watching videos, playing games, searching Google, or checking news feeds can lead to lower productivity at work or school and isolate you for hours at a time.

All this compulsive use of the Internet and smartphone apps can cause you to neglect other aspects of your life, from real-world relationships to hobbies and social pursuits.

While a smartphone, tablet, or computer can be a hugely productive tool, compulsive use of these devices can interfere with your daily life, work, and relationships.

When you spend more time on social media or playing games than you do interacting with real people, or you can’t stop yourself from repeatedly checking texts, emails, news feeds, websites, or apps—even when it has negative consequences in your life—it may be time to reassess your technology use.

This need to continually check and respond to email can contribute to higher stress levels and even burnout. The constant stream of messages and information from a smartphone can overwhelm the brain and make it impossible to focus attention on any one thing for more than a few minutes without feeling compelled to move on to something else.