Social media monitoring apps targeting programs like Facebook and Instagram are revealing alarming habitual behaviour and extreme levels of smart phone use.

You may not realise it, but you are probably reaching for your smart phone with high frequency.

It just takes a free app to give you the cold, hard statistics.

“If you ask people to report on how often they use their smart phones, they may under report or they may be missing information and consider themselves average users,” University of Wollongong technology expert Professor Katina Michael said.

“We see others on smart phones at train stations, bus stops and at work and we think it’s become a normalised activity.”

Professor Michael is an ambassador for a free app called Anti Social, which not only displays time spent on social media, but also the number of times a user unlocks their home screen and compares the data to other demographics.

She said people are usually shocked at the results.

“It’s aimed at everyone because no-one is immune to smart phone addiction or any form of internet addiction,” she said.

The demographic most at risk

Professor Michael said she was most concerned about adolescents’ social media use.

Not only are they exposed to the risk of addiction, there is also the fear of missing out on seeing things that are posted to social media.

Technology is also a compulsory part of their education as tablets and computers are used to access school resources.

“We are seeing a huge wave of technology into our education systems, and it’s allegedly supposed to be bettering our literacy levels and our maths and science skills, but what we see is the increase of technology actually decreases students’ ability to read and speak to others clearly,” she said.

“We are seeing younger children exposed to [electronic] tablets without any nuanced control of what media literacy is.”

– Justin Huntsdale

Read more: Social media monitoring apps shine spotlight on internet addiction

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