App Attack!

by Sasha Spichke, PAW Writer

Do you have an addiction problem? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to Forbes magazine, more than half of all adult Americans have a Smartphone, lending to the evident rise of app addictions. Has “Just 5 more minutes!” turned into “Oh snap! It’s been 5 hours!” more than once for you? Have you said, “Well, I’ll try this game just one more time,” about 100 times? So have many others. Let’s listen to some of our fellow app-lovers after a few basic facts are laid down.

Mashable, a popular news source, cited an analytical firm called Flurry that found 176 million people are addicted to their mobile devices, an increase of 123%  over last year. According to the study, this means that 176 million users launch their apps more than 60 times a day! Some games such as Angry Birds, Temple Run, Flappy Bird, Candy Crush, Quiz Up, Trivia Crack, Piano Tiles, and Risk, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube, have probably gained a few hours from you each day.

How do you know when you are addicted to apps? Well, you probably play the games whenever and wherever possible. Need to buy a life? No problem! You will easily  spend the money in order to increase your score!

Why are some apps so addictive? Blogger Marbelized, in an online article titled “Why are Apps So Addictive”  says, “ A common thing with all of these apps are that they are simple to play. Anyone can play them because… it’s not rocket science.” It goes on to say, “Another thing these apps have in common is that there is a fine line between winning and losing. You could be one pig off in Angry Birds but you still lost so you have to try again. Or one or two moves off winning a level in Candy Crush but you ran out of moves or time. Another reason they are addictive is that you get obvious progress. Like levels in Angry Birds, Plants versus Zombies and Candy Crush and the same progress in Temple Run as achievements like running for 10,000 meters.”

It may come as a surprise that there are no games in the top 25 most popular apps. An article titled, “These are the 25 Most Popular Mobile Apps in America,” by Quartz tech writer Dan Frommer says, “There are no games in the top 25. This is not a mistake: comScore rep Andrew Lipsman says many games have large audiences, but they’re closer to 10 million unique visitors—probably because games tend to spike in popularity and then decline. Facebook and Google, meanwhile, seem here to stay.” It is clear that most app games have a very short life span. They are fun for a couple of weeks, and then, well, they aren’t.

But, in the beginning, some apps are just too addictive! Here are what some app-lovers have to say:

  •  Kailey McIntyre ’15 said, “I get addicted to the competitive games. Trivia Crack, quiz up, and words with friends have each become an obsession of mine and I spend hours trying to get to the next level, or beat my friends.”
  •  Pooja Dhar ’17 said, “The only app I’ve ever been obsessed with is text messaging.”
  •  Gianna Bruno ’19 said, “I am obsessed with Instagram and Pintrest! I have been obsessed for about a year or so. First, what’s so appealing aboutInstagram, I love it because it connects me with friends who are both here and back in Connecticut, where I used to live. I also love it because you can find accounts that only post about a certain thing, like bands, fashion, nail art, and so many more. I can spend hours looking through all types of different accounts. Another thing I like about Instagram is the hashtags, I like them because you could search something on the hashtag as simple as “puppies” and thousands upon thousands of pictures pop up of puppies! Anybody could spend hours looking trough different hashtags. For Pinterest, I think it is appealing because you can really connect with your friends through the app. With my friends and I we can search for different pins and we send them to each other and we connect over them. Another reason is that, like Instagram, there are tons of pages that you can find your favorite thing, like fashion, hairstyles, and tons of DIYS. I also really like pointers because a lot of big stores are on Pinterest, so I can find clothes on Pinterest, tap the image and it will take me to the website which I personally like!”
  •  Kelley Rajkowski ’20 said, “There are a LOT of apps I, along with my friends are addicted to. They are Instagram, Snapchat,, Crossy Road,  Mine Craft, watch Disney channel app, Temple Run, Flow, Kik, Stick Hero, and many more.”
  •  Dr. Jeff Biebighauser said, “I’ve been playing candy crush for probably a year now. I know this is definitely stupid, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I pass a level. What I’m addicted to, when I’m addicted to Candy Crush, is self-mockery, or the sense of perspective on my life that stupid and meaningless victories provides.” Just to note, he has successfully reached level 699!Dr. Biebighauser says he is aware that, with the publication of this article, “the last bits of his dignity or professional credibility will disintegrate like so many shards of red jelly beans.”
  •  Kevin Greeder ’15 has some wise advice. “A good rule to live by is to take everything in moderation and to value temperance.”

How can fix your addiction? Ironically, one solution is by using an app called “BreakFree” designed for the Android model, and hopefully, soon for the iPhone. Mashable says, “BreakFree keeps tabs on how long you spend using apps, how often you unlock your phone and how much time you spend making phone calls. It calculates an “addiction score” based on these metrics, and will send reminders suggesting you slow down when your use is on the rise. BreakFree is free to download, but users will have to upgrade to the $1.99 premium version to get the most detailed stats, including breakdowns of how much time they spend on phone calls and in individual apps.”

If your obsession is out of control, a simple solution is to put down your device. Hide it. Have your parents lock it up. Or delete it. Everything is good in moderation.