Are you a smart phone user? If so, have you ever thought whether you can live a moment without your smart phone? How will the world be if these smart phones were not there? Unimaginable! With the rapid development of technology it’s impossible to think of a world of such. Smart phones have become a part of our lives. Is it really the smart phone that does this? In order to find an answer for this question, Google has funded a study regarding this subject recently.

This study reveals that this addiction is not a matter of the latest Smart phones, but a matter of the latest mobile apps. How does this happen? How does these mobile apps make Smart Phones a ‘Pocket Slot Machine’ which addicts users?

If we consider ourselves, the major reason for us to use the phone constantly is to check what notifications we have received in Facebook, to scroll the Instagram feed or Facebook wall, or else to check what emails we have got. Each time we swipe our finger to scroll or each time we refresh an app, we are unknowingly playing a pocket slot machine. That’s the reason why Google says that Mobile apps have made Smart Phones a ‘pocket slot machine’ which addicts its users.

It’s reported that an average person  checks their phone around 150 times a day. Why does it happen so? According to the latest survey conducted, they have found that the  “trigger, action, reward” design of popular apps makes the users to do so.

The recent research had been done using 19 participants aged 18-65 in Zurich, Switzerland and California, US. They have said that it’s true that they are hooked with these apps. According to them the reason for them to scroll down the wall or the news feed is just to see something new! Something new in the sense, may be a new post, or even an increase in the number  reactions, comments or shares. This infinite scroll can be referred to as ‘automatic triggers’ which attracts users more and more towards these apps.

They also reveal that they feel a sense of belonging because of these apps. This is a point where the mobile app developers have addressed with regard to the human brain functioning. Humans always need to feel a sense of belonging. All these reactions of posts, comments , as well as the recommendations provided by the social media itself, comes under social media actions which give its users a sense of belonging. So it’s obvious that the users spend more and more time with these apps, since they feel that these mobile apps are a part of their lives.

What do you think about the design of the most popular mobile apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc? They have designed these apps with attractive features and highly user friendly interfaces, in a way that the user never misses anything happening around. Yes, the research says that the designing concepts of these apps also enhances the interest of the users towards these apps.

However when considering all these facts mobile app users being addicted to these apps is no longer a mystery.These mobile app developers are really amazing. They are like magicians. They have identified the weaknesses of the human mind, and then designed these mobile apps, so that the users are automatically addicted to these apps, even before they recognise about it.

But since latest researches show that this infinite scroll makes the users more miserable, it seems that social media companies now pay more attention towards improving user engagement. Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is changing the news feed to try and prompt people to have conversations. Recently he wiped videos from news organisations, celebrities and prioritised posts from users’ friends on the home feed. It now shows recommended posts according to a users’ location, friends along with posts and pages they have viewed, so that the infinite scroll can be controlled even a bit.

Knowingly or unknowingly these mobile phone apps have made us feel that there’s no life without our smart phones. But the truth is while we are trying our best to catch everything through social media, we are missing the amazing incidents which are happening around us. We are missing the true feelings of belonging and love since we are trying to embrace them through social media. Of course social media is useful and interesting, as long as we are not addicts  but mindful users of them. Hence it’s high time for us to make a balance between our lives vs social media lives.