Smartphone addiction Photograph:( Others )
'The smartphone is no longer just a device that we use, it's become the place where we live' Prof Daniel Miller, who led the study said
Smartphones have literally become the "place where we live," and a large study has claimed this.
Researchers at University College London (UCL), in a study that involved nine countries and conducted for more than a year, found that people feel the same about their smartphones as they do about their homes.
"The smartphone is no longer just a device that we use, it's become the place where we live," Prof Daniel Miller, who led the study, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"The flip side of that for human relationships is that at any point, whether over a meal, a meeting or other shared activity, a person we're with can just disappear, having 'gone home' to their smartphone."
He added that this phenomenon is causing "death to proximity" of face-to-face communication.
"This behaviour, and the frustration, disappointment or even offence it can cause, is what we're calling the 'death of proximity'. We are learning to live with the jeopardy that even when we are physically together, we can be socially, emotionally or professionally alone," Miller further said.
Chat apps like WhatsApp are leading this transformation, according to the research which describes these as the "heart of the smartphone".
"These apps are the platforms where siblings come together to take care of elderly parents, proud parents send out endless photographs of their babies, and migrants reconnect with families; they are the means by which you can still be a grandparent even if living in another country," the lead researcher said.