Psychologists Push For Smartphone Warning Labels

We’re used to seeing warning labels on alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs, for obvious reasons.

But if one group of scientists has anything to say about it, similar warning labels will soon be showing up on your smartphone or tablet.

Psychologists and computer scientists from Bournemouth University in the UK argue that the disclaimers should be added to personal digital devices so that people will be aware of the risks of excessive use.

“Excessive and obsessive usage and preoccupation about technology are associated with undesirable behaviors such as reduced creativity, depression and disconnection from reality,” Dr. Raian Ali, a professor of computing at the university and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

He’s right. A growing body of research suggests that the Internet, smartphones and social media are all potentially addictive. And with the increasing digital saturation of our daily lives, it’s easy to lose awareness of the amount of time we’re spending in front of screens and how it’s affecting us.

For this reason, the researchers say, warning labels on personal devices should be considered a “social responsibility” for technology developers.

In a study published in March, Ali and his colleagues surveyed 72 adult technology users, and found that 80 percent were receptive to the idea of warning labels on digital devices. Roughly 30 percent said they thought warning labels were a good idea and that labels might encourage people to use their digital devices more mindfully.

The researchers flagged 11 male and female respondents (all between the ages of 19 and 35) whose survey results suggested that they were addicted to their devices and who indicated interest in the warning labels. They also flagged four people who did not think warning labels would be effective. Through 30-minute —> Read More