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e Bay addicts may wake up at strange hours in order to be online for the last remaining minutes of an auction.

You may purchase things you don't need and can't afford just to experience the excitement of placing the winning bid.

Diminishing your ability to concentrate and think deeply or creatively.

The persistent buzz, ping or beep of your smartphone can distract you from important tasks, slow your work, and interrupt those quiet moments that are so crucial to creativity and problem solving.

While the Internet can be a great place to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, or even start romantic relationships, online relationships are not a healthy substitute for real-life interactions.

Online friendships can be appealing as they tend to exist in a bubble, not subject to the same demands or stresses as messy, real-world relationships.

You feel the pressure to always be on, never out of touch from work.

This need to continually check and respond to email can contribute to higher stress levels and even burnout. The constant stream of messages and information from a smartphone can overwhelm the brain and make it impossible to focus attention on any one thing for more than a few minutes without feeling compelled to move on to something else.

Smartphone addiction can encompass a variety of impulse-control problems, including: Virtual relationships.

While gambling addiction has been a well-documented problem for years, the availability of Internet gambling has made gambling far more accessible.

Compulsive stock trading or online shopping can be just as financially and socially damaging.

By learning about the signs and symptoms of smartphone and Internet addiction and how to break free of the habit, you can better balance your life, online and off.

Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fueled by an Internet overuse problem or Internet addiction disorder.

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