The silent mode of your smartphone could be increasing your stress levels

In France we spend on average three hours and thirty minutes a day on our phone. The fear of being separated from your smartphone, the nomophobia, is now very widespread. To combat this phenomenon, many people rely on the silent mode of their device: when disconnecting from notifications, they think Resist the urge to check your phone. But according to a study recently published in the journal Computers in human behavior (source 1), this technique could have the complete opposite effect.

“The general and sensible approach to overcoming addiction or any kind of overuse or addiction is to cut down on this substance,” said Professor S. Shyam Sundar, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory from Pennsylvania State University (source 2). And to continue: “The industry’s approach to limiting excessive use of smartphones has generally been to try to find ways to cut off your access to the phoneof reduce the number of notificationsor of give the possibility to mute the sound. Although these are common sense approaches, we really don’t know if they are psychologically effective. This seems to be one of those cases where cutting can backfire or cause a boomerang.”

Silent mode: check your smartphone twice

To assess the impact of silent mode, researchers at the Pennsylvania State University (USA) examined data collected from screen time tool of 138 iPhone users. Participants were asked to test various features of their smartphone for four consecutive days: 42% chose only vibrate mode, 8.7% switched to silent mode, while the rest left the ringer on.

Results ? People checked their phones more when it was on silent: When phone sound and vibration were on, they checked their phones on average 52.9 times a day, but they checked it at least 98.2 times a day on average when the phone was completely silent.

FOMO increases our stress levels

Observation that is important: people with FOMO, fear of missing out (fear of missing out), and need to belong (need to belong) checked their phones even more when they were silenced. That is, in the absence of notifications to notify us that someone has sent us a message or that an influencer has published a new video, we are more stressedwe are afraid of not being up to date with the news and of being excluded. of certain discussions, or of certain groups.

In some cases, people with these concerns tend to stay on the phone longer. “Instead of turning on silent mode or turning off all notifications on your phone to avoid distractions, FOMO users can customize your notification settings and selectively disable certain notifications“, concludes Mengqi Liao, communication researcher at the Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the study.


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