Now German researchers say they can show in what way mobile phone use and addiction problems are connected.
A new study shows that impulsive people who prefer short and quick rewards spend more time on social media and games.
However, whether gambling also causes impulsivity is not something that can yet be said for sure from research.
Today, 76 percent of all people living in developed countries own a mobile phone.
One in three states that they check their mobile within five minutes after waking up in the morning.
And 40 percent check their cell phone at night.
In this study, researchers analyzed how 101 people used their mobile phones in the last seven to ten days.
The average use was five to nine hours a day.
And those who preferred fast and smaller rewards used social media and games significantly more.
- It's an incredible amount.
For me, it was interesting that 71 percent overestimated how much they used their cell phone and only 17 percent underestimated.
I thought it would be the other way around, says Per Carlbring, professor of clinical psychology at Stockholm University.
"Mobile phone use is lonely"
Being dependent on the mobile phone can be similar to other addiction problems where you prefer quick rewards despite poorer results in the long run.
But Per Carlbring says that mobile games, for example, are different from computer games.
- There can be a lot of social around the whole thing.
It's something you gather around.
It's not as solitary and lonely as mobile gaming can be.
If you wish someone an addiction, it would rather be a computer game addiction than a mobile game addiction.
Anders Håkansson, professor of gambling addiction at Lund University, believes that the results of the study point to a development of addiction.
- Their hypothesis is that people who use their mobile phones a lot are even more sensitive to quick rewards compared to other people.
And that you can show that there is support that there is a kind of addiction development and perhaps a connection to other addictions.
Do mobiles make us addicted?
- Some things trigger the human reward system.
Gambling for money does it.
Some components of the phone may do this.
It makes us want a reward even if we get a reward that is less than what we received in the long run, says Anders Håkansson.
There are no studies on how mobile phone use affects people for a long time.
But Anders Håkansson does not think that you can blame everything on mobile phones.
- It is not the medium that is the problem but it is what you do with it.
For example, it would have been a different matter if you had sat and read a book on your mobile phone for several hours.
The study was published in the scientific journal PLOS during the week.