A Clemson University professor said that panic related to tech, smartphone dependency is more of a people problem than an addiction.
Travers Scott told South Carolina Radio Network it also depends on what a person is doing on social media. “It’s actually not a medical term. In terms of diagnostic physician’s manual and things like that, we talk about things like dependency and misuse.”
Scott said people often project their own fears and concerns onto new technologies. These fears can come from a changing social climate or when gender norms are challenged.
While scholars typically lay the blame of these panics on new media, Scott’s research has shown that these types of panics occur with old and contemporary media alike.
“There is nothing inherently addictive to use the word about social media in general,” said Scott.
Scott said if the technology interferes with relationships or work it might be a sign that a person is venturing into addictive territory. However, he said people tend to be too quick to pathologize gaming or usage of the internet or phones. Other activities that aren’t related to technology can be just as addictive while somehow being stigma-proof.