Science & Tech

People seeking fulfilment from their smartphones will only find despair, study finds

People seeking fulfilment from their smartphones will only find despair, study finds
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People often turn to their phones for their daily dose of dopamine.

Still, one study has revealed that it could "cause a breakdown in social values" and "inadvertently exacerbate feelings of despair while simultaneously promising to resolve" life's questions.

Researchers from Baylor University and Campbell University say the endless information online can mislead people to believe they are searching for a higher meaning.

However, the search could eventually lead to technology addiction, forcing people to become more detached from real life with feelings of "unhappiness, depression, suicidal ideation, and loneliness".

In the study published in the journal Sociological Perspectives, Christopher M. Pieper, PhD, senior lecturer of sociology at Baylor University, said: "Human beings are seekers – we seek meaning in our relationships, our work, our faith, in all areas of social life,"

"As researchers, we were interested in the role that smartphones – and the media they give us instant access to – might be playing in meaning-seeking."

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Pieper added: "Seeking itself becomes the only meaningful activity, which is the basis of anomie and addiction."

"What is interesting is this association decreases for the heaviest of social media users," Pieper concluded.

"While we don’t know how this group uses social media, it might be that normalized use at the highest levels erases feelings of attachment for the individual – as we put it, it would be like saying one is attached to their eyes or lungs."

The study said they uncovered a social mechanism that draws people into smartphone use, "exacerbating feelings of attachment and anomie, and even disconnection, while they promise the opposite."

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