Brazil ranks high in smartphone use, causing concern over addiction

Global Business

Brazilians love their smartphones like no other country. A recent survey found there’s nowhere in the world people spend as much time using cell phone technology as in Brazil.

To many, it’s come to the point of addiction. CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

In 2016, the research group Statista ranked Brazil’s smartphone use with an average of nearly 5 hours a day (4h48m), followed by China (3h03m) and the U.S.(2h37m).

“If the network is not available, I keep staring at the cell phone to see if returns. And when it’s on, I am always checking apps and social networks for something new, I am addicted really, ” trade analyst Juliana Duarte said.

Doctors warn that people can in fact become addicted- to the point of requiring professional attention.

This hospital affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo offers a free 18-week treatment in its psychiatry institute, to help people struggling with their reliance on technology.

“We noticed it’s an addiction when the patient begins to abandon activities and tasks that he would expected to perform in the real world. For example, people that favor technology to communicate with others instead of personal interactions; or don’t go out anymore because they have all the fun they want on line,”  Cristano Nabucco, Psychiatrist said.

“I have a small daughter and sometimes she stares at me and says: ‘Mummy, drop the phone, please!’ Yes, we have to pay good attention to this,” Mirlene Oliveira, account executive said.

Mental health experts recognize that excessive use of smartphones can lead to serious problems. But for the cell phone industry – both makers and carriers – society’s addiction to connectivity means good business and great profits.

Brazilians, like many people around the world, have come to rely on technology and can’t seem to live without it and companies like Samsung know it.

“I think the more people are connected the more we have opportunities to make their lives better and easier. So Samsung is placing some big bets in things like internet of things and artificial intelligence. I think all these initiatives, the intention is to help people do the connection in a smooth way,” Vivian Jacobsohn Serebrinic, director of Samsung Design Latin America said.

Connectivity can make life easier but experts warn it’s important to pay attention to the signs of excessive use.