Controversial Study Claims 'Smartphone Addiction' Alters the Brain
It’s an open secret that Silicon Valley exploits our tendency to seek the neurological rewards delivered by the likes, comments and mentions that pop up on our internet-connected devices. As such, smartphone use can certainly feel like it’s habit-forming. But a desire to engage with technology — and even what could be seen as compulsive use — is not the same thing as addiction, despite what a new study claiming that smartphone addiction changes our brains claims.
In the new paper, presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, a team of radiologists at Korea University report that smartphone addiction changes teenagers’ brains. Using brain imaging, they argue that smartphone- and internet-addicted teenagers have imbalanced brain chemistry when compared to their peers who aren’t addicted to smartphones or the internet.
But scientists not involved with the study have some serious issues with their research. Perhaps the most important of these issues is the fact that “smartphone addiction” is not a scientifically established thing — at least not yet.