Our Addiction To Cell Phones Is Costing Lives. Here’s How We Can Stop It.

Texting while driving can lead to a catastrophic accident in just a few seconds.

It’s a sobering reality, with no bigger reminder than the recent incident of a school bus driver crashing into another bus filled with school children while he was distracted by his phone. Three passengers died, including two young elementary school kids.

So what causes our insatiable need to constantly check our devices? Dr. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, told The Huffington Post that when cell phone users compulsively check their devices it is in an effort to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers. And in this way, cell phone use can be compared to gambling or gaming addictions.

“Smartphones are essentially the world’s smallest slot machine,” Greenfield said. “Every time you go on your phone, whether to look at a Facebook update or check your email, you never know what you’re going to get and how good it’s going to be.”

There is a pay off that compels us to check our phones, even though the consequences could be deadly, according to Greenfield.

“It’s very neurologically addicting,” he said. “When you get a hit — finding something or hearing from someone, you get an elevation of dopamine, and it compels us to keep checking.”

Through his research, Greenfield said a vast majority of people not only admit to checking their cell phones while driving, but admit that they know it’s unsafe. Drivers keep doing it anyway.

“If you think about what it takes to pick up your phone, scan it, and push the necessary buttons to respond, you’re talking about many seconds,” he said. “You’re taking your attention away from a highly complex task for five to 15 seconds, and that’s all it takes for a tragedy to happen.”

Five is the average number of seconds —> Read More