Teens experience withdrawal without their cell phones

There have been several studies released that suggest that as people use their cell phones more they become dependent on them. Separating them from their cell phone creates anxiety and stress. Michelle Hackman, a teenager from Great Neck, N.Y wanted to put those studies to the test for the annual Intel Science Talent Search by studying what happens when you take cell phones away from teenagers. 

In an interview with NPR Hackman told the reporter, 

I found addictive tendencies in my subjects. They almost went through withdrawal symptoms. And the way that I like to explain that is that cell phones and other sorts of technology are very inherently stimulating. And so when you take them away, a kid becomes under-simulated and almost doesn't know how to entertain himself.

Hackman used a biofeedback meter to monitor her test subjects while they were with and without their cell phones. During the process she had a team of students helping her compile the results, she needed the help because she is blind. 

The study won Michelle second place and a $75,000 college scholarship from Intel, she was beat by Evan O’Dorney a teenager from Danville, California. Evan worked on a project where he compared two ways to estimate the square root of an integer and then created a process which found when one way was faster at solving the equation over the other. As a byproduct of his research he solved equations useful for encrypting data. Evan won a $100,000 college scholarship. 

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I wish I could be addicted to my cell phone, but this little cheap LG flip phone my mom got me from Tracfone (punishment for ringing up a $400 bill) is nothing to get addicted to. The phone cost her like $20 and I can't get emails or have any apps so its pretty much just start up talking and texting and even then I'm restricted with how much I can use it because of aircards. I was soooo addicted to my EVO and I miss it - this Tracfone thing isn't the type of phone you can get addicted to but my mom can't complain about $20 a month.

The problem is, I'm 18, I have a smartphone, and I just don't understand how people get addicted to these things. Oh right, I have a Windows Phone 7, so... I wouldn't understand . The thing I'm addicted to is Microsoft Consumer products. If MS went out of business, I'd go crazy.

I was without my iPhone for a week and my partner says I was a different person. I missed not having access to whatever I wanted when I wanted it. Like when standing in a line at Kmart, you can pull out your phone and google something. Not having that option made life stressful.

I'm going to love WW3 where we in the west will have similarities as in the middle-east... power outages every day, internet slow or barely working.. Any enemy of the west will win by tiring its people out make sure most people are unable to internet/phone/txt for a couple of weeks and you'll have millions of mental hospital patients going nuts everywhere.
this dependence on internet/phones is just sick. anyone who gets twitchy or anxious for not using a phone or the internet for 1 or 2 weeks... should really consider finding a good shrink.

You know, I feel the same.

Is not that I actually use it a lot. Past 2 days have had no sms or calls of any sort, yet if I didn't have it "I feel naked".

I think is the power that you can communicate as opposed to doing the communication that is the reason. If I'm in trouble, I can call someone. Or for whatever emergency or even if I randomly want to talk to someone.

Ah no surprise. Current generation of kids and teens is so connected its not funny.

Good news is, parents dont need to use smacking to install discipline anymore...taking a mobile off a them or cutting off net access is the equivalent to them of you chopping off their arm.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
There are plenty of adults who "can't live without their phone" either. It's not just teens.

Yep I agree, but the problem appears more systemic with the generation growing up in this interconnecteness. Most current adults (pending age group) havent grown up with social media and those levels of interconnectedness therefore less % of them will be afflicted by this.

I'm 24... my life revolves around my phone. Its my main source of internet and amusement. I have 3 computers but I barely even use them...

Plus... my job relies on my phone so I can't be without one for more than 30 minutes otherwise I wouldn't have a job.

i could live without a phone with zero issues. but then again i never owned a cell phone.

but going without a PC, now that's a different story.

Personally I'd be fine without texts/calls but I use my phone more now for everything else than I do as a communications device ironically.

This is so true. One I had to live for 3 weeks without my iPhone and until I got my hands on a new one, I had nightmares, anxiety and obsessive thoughts

Luis Mazza said,
This is so true. One I had to live for 3 weeks without my iPhone and until I got my hands on a new one, I had nightmares, anxiety and obsessive thoughts

you should really go see a shrink, that dependence on an item is really...really bad.

I understand that...whenever im at work my twitter/fb/IM is up..whenever im on the go im the same way. When im disconnected i feel uneasy...its a pretty common thing i think to.

I would go crazy without my mobile - how would i contact people? I don't know phone numbers off the top of my head! I lost my phone for a week a few years ago and I couldn't cope!

bbfc_uk said,
I would go crazy without my mobile - how would i contact people? I don't know phone numbers off the top of my head! I lost my phone for a week a few years ago and I couldn't cope!

ring a doorbell?

If my phone was still only a phone (i.e. just calls/SMS), I could learn to get by without it. But now I have a smartphone with email, calendar, maps/GPS, music etc. I wonder how I ever survived before.

Gilly said,
If my phone was still only a phone (i.e. just calls/SMS), I could learn to get by without it. But now I have a smartphone with email, calendar, maps/GPS, music etc. I wonder how I ever survived before.
remembering dates, knowing where you are... how in gods name did people used to do that before?

Shadowzz said,
remembering dates, knowing where you are... how in gods name did people used to do that before?

Yeah but I'm sure people said the same thing about sewage systems, roads, mass production. I think the point is more that once you are brought up with a new technological advance you become dependent on it - I bet when they invented the first public transportation there were people that were like 'Well, we managed to survive before'

I'm still in HS, don't rely on my phone, it actually broke 2 days ago, it's disappointing but I can go without it for a few weeks while I send it to warranty.
Will also save money not paying for my plan

i dont feel anything different when im without my phone, and im 19, if that counts as a teenager

Hm. I personally wouldn't know because I personally haven't not-had my phone with me for more than a hour or so for the last three years.

I dont think its just teens. Where I work the cashiers text while at customer service, some even text while helping customers. They give excuses like they will go crazyif they were away from their phones for 5 mins. Sad

I never use my phone to call people.. Just to text my girlfriend and some friends. Facebook is the main tool. No phone, meh not to hard (main withdraw would be lack of Developing on it haha). No internet, i would go crazy.

svnO.o said,
this happens to me with computers but I also rely on them for my work!

+1 I could give a damn about the phone but no net or gaming and I'm getting twitchy fingers after several hours

svnO.o said,
this happens to me with computers but I also rely on them for my work!

This also happens to me with computers and the internet, but I don't get to use either at work.

Not really surprised unfortunately. I could easily live without a phone. I use it so rarely I have almost 10,000 rollover minutes.

Panda X said,
Not really surprised unfortunately. I could easily live without a phone. I use it so rarely I have almost 10,000 rollover minutes.

I work for AT&T and didn't think that is possible. They expire...

david said,

I work for AT&T and didn't think that is possible. They expire...

I just logged into my AT&T account, I have 12,415 rollover minutes :] They might come in handy one day when I am kidnapped and need the extra minutes.

Panda X said,
Not really surprised unfortunately. I could easily live without a phone. I use it so rarely I have almost 10,000 rollover minutes.

I have unlimited texting & never use it... I don't see the point, it seems like bad email to me.

EDIT: xD Neowin error, this is under dirtstyle comment...

david said,

I work for AT&T and didn't think that is possible. They expire...

Minutes Remaining as of 3/20:
Anytime: 881
N&W: Unlimited
M2M: Unlimited
RO: 9,721
RO Exp: 839 on 3/25/11

Panda X said,
Not really surprised unfortunately. I could easily live without a phone. I use it so rarely I have almost 10,000 rollover minutes.

Rollover minutes used to last a month but now they last a year so it is much easier to get a large accumulation.