Most of us look at our smartphones for around five hours per day – checking the gadgets hundreds of times every day (and sometimes during the night).
Around 11% of people in Western countries are thought to suffer from some form of technology addiction, according to Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, Fullerton.
Tech giants such as Google and Facebook use ‘lab rat’ techniques – and tactics borrowed from casinos – to ensure we keep staring at their apps.
Former Google product manager Tristan Harris says that the ‘notification streams’ used by apps such as Facebook are designed to excite our brains like slot machines.
Harris told CBS News, : ‘Every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, “What did I get?
‘This is one way to hijack people’s minds and create a habit, to form a habit.
‘What you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward.
‘And it turns out that this design technique can be embedded inside of all these products.’
‘They are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people.
‘They are programming people. There’s a whole playbook of techniques that get used to get you using the product for as long as possible.’