How to Help a Loved One with a Smartphone Addiction
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With the emergence of smartphones and social media, there has been an increase of stress in romantic and familial relationships alike–so much so that the term “partner phubbing” (phone snubbing) has been coined.

Phone phubbing is “the extent to which an individual uses or is distracted by his or her cell phone while in the company of his or her relationship partner”3 and can negatively impact the user as well as those around him or her.

One study revealed that just over 46% of its participants reported having been phubbed by their partners and nearly 23% reported that it had caused conflict between them and their partners.3 Furthermore, neglect due to excessive smartphone usage has a negative impact upon mental health. 36.6% of study participants had felt depressed at one point or another after experiencing partner phubbing due to low relationship and life satisfaction.3

If you are upset by and concerned about your husband or wife’s smartphone addiction, remember that help is available for him or her. There are a number of different smartphone addiction treatment options which can help him or her begin the road to recovery.

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Signs Your Loved One is Addicted

Distraction due to excessive cell phone use has become a concerning problem amongst married and committed smartphone users, especially for young adults.

42% of young adults have reported that they felt their partner was distracted by their mobile device while spending time together.2

Some tell-tale signs that your loved one may be addicted to their smartphone include if he or she:1

Furthermore, nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile phone. Some signs that your loved one may be suffering from anxiety induced by a lack of cell phone or service include if he or she:4

If you are concerned about your loved one’s cell phone addiction or he or she displays these tell-tale signs, then it may be time to call the number above to learn more about treatment options.

How to Help Your Addicted Loved One

The mere presence of a cell phone during an exchange has been proven to negatively impact connection, quality of conversation, and closeness in romantic and platonic relationships.6

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You can imagine the detrimental effects cell phone addiction can have on human relationships. If you’re feeling worried, neglected, or depressed over your loved one’s smartphone addiction, it’s time to take the necessary steps to help your loved one.

Chances are, you’ve confronted your spouse or loved one many times about his or her smartphone addiction and to no avail. Addicted individuals often respond in a defensive manner when confronted, which is counterproductive to the recovery process.

CRAFT (community reinforcement and family training) can be an effective approach to utilize when speaking to your husband, wife, teen, or friend about his or her cell phone addiction. Some CRAFT strategies include:

Just as it’s important to know how to speak to your loved one about his or her addiction, it’s also crucial you know how not to talk to him or her. Below are some things to keep in mind when communicating with your loved one about his or her smartphone addiction:

Overall, it’s important to remember that you must foster a loving and caring environment if you would like your loved one to respond positively. This kind of environment will create trust moving forward.

Find Treatment for Your Loved One’s Cell Phone Addiction

If your loved one suffers from a severe addiction to his or her smartphone and is unable to cut back on use, then treatment may be necessary in order to recover. There are many different rehabilitation options available and it’s pertinent that you choose which kind of treatment will best suit your loved one’s specific needs.

Some recovery options include:

Nothing is more important than your loved one’s recovery. Call the number above if you would like more information about smartphone addiction treatment options for your loved one.


  1. Greenfield, D. (2013). Smartphone Abuse Test. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  2. Lenhart, A., & Duggan, M. (2014, February 11). Couples, the Internet, and Social Media. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  3. Roberts, J., & David, M. (2015). My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 54(January 2016), 134-141. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from
  4. Yildirim, C., & Correia, A. (2015). Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 130-137. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  5. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  6. Przybylski, A., & Weinstein, N. (2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 237-246. doi:10.1177/0265407512453827
  7. Getting an Addict into Treatment: The CRAFT Approach. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from
  8. Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA). (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  9. Andreassen, C. (2015). Online Social Network Site Addiction: A Comprehensive Review. Curr Addict Rep Current Addiction Reports, 2015(2), 175-184. doi:10.1007/s40429-015-0056-9
  10. Young, K. (2007). Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Internet Addicts: Treatment Outcomes and Implications. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(5), 671-679. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9971
  11. Camp Grounded – Summer Camp for Adults – Digital Detox. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  12. ReSTART Center for Technology Sustainability. (2015). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from

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