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World News

UK's smartphone addiction must be challenged, urges Christian expert

by Hannah Tooley

Dr Bex Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, was speaking to Premier's News Hour after a new study showed nearly 70 per cent of adults with smartphones use it while having dinner with family and friends.

She said smartphones can be all-consuming: "They've got so much on them.

"We've got diaries on there, books on them, we've got our emails.

"I use mine as an alarm clock and I have an app that tells me how well I'm sleeping so it's literally right next to my head."

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The report from Deloitte also found four out of five adults in the UK, around 37 million people, own a device and collectively look at it over a billion times a day.

Dr Lewis said she was reluctant to use language of "addiction" about our use of smartphones today: "We've all fallen into really bad habits but I think that's quite different to addiction - they're just poor habits.

"We've got to be careful about thinking of it as addiction.

"We've got to think about which of the habits are helpful and which are problematic and which are causing conflict... are people behaving weirdly or has our idea of etiquette changed and we've got a kind of generational mismatch going on?

"You can look at how we can use these devices for positive means as well as negative means.

"I had a friend who decided for Lent that she wasn't going to pick up her phone until she got to work in the morning and that she would consciously do something else.

"She said it really brought to light what she was doing and what was helpful and what wasn't.

"That helped her to think about how to have a more healthy relationship with her device rather than it be the default thing that she would go straight for."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speak to Dr Bex Lewis here:

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