I Don't Believe Smartphones Cause Depression

I was a bit disturbed when I began to read reports about smartphones causing depression. Not only were most of the articles reaching with questionable "scientific results", but also the headlines were merely misleading attempts to bait clicks. The first article I read about smartphones' link to depression basically linked how often a user engages in their phone with how depressed they are.

The Mind Unleashed site read,

"The more time you spend using your phone, the more likely you are depressed. The average daily usage for depressed individuals was about 68 minutes, while for non-depressed individuals it was about 17 minutes."

Apparently, if you use your phone often then you must be clinically depressed.


(Photo Credit: The Odyssey Platform)

As a technology consultant, I feel this is irresponsible information output. Headlines and content like that encourage technophobia and can also cause people to 'misdiagnose' those around them. Saying that increased smart phone usage indicates high depression levels is completely an exaggeration. Never mind the fact that people have dealt with depression long before cell phones existed. Never mind the fact that people use their phones for everything from heart rate counts to video chatting with loved ones to checking bank accounts to shopping for textbooks to work e-mails to...Yeah. Social media and text messages are no longer the sum of cell phone usage. Smartphones hold much more utilitarian value in 2015 than they did in 2000 and many people use their phones often to complete actual daily tasks.

If your occupation requires you to engage in social media or group projects conducted in the cloud, then your smartphone usage will double that of the average Joe. So are we all out here in the world communicating as depressed individuals?

That's unlikely.

Also, as a family man, I witnessed the depression battle up close and personal. I admit, sometimes, I would notice heavy smartphone usage (and reality TV binge-watching) and feel frustrated. In hindsight, I realize my loved one truly held no connection to the outside world at certain life periods. The connection was entirely virtual and a dear escape. Sometimes the virtual connection is the only connection.

I can say with confidence that I know maintaining connections via smartphone saved the life of my loved one.

Let's stop giving smartphones such a bad rep.