In November 2018 researchers from Germany, Austria and China published the results of their study to assess how excessive use of WhatsApp and Facebook may be related to smartphone use disorder. The researchers stated that although smartphones are useful because they support and simplify many tasks in everyday life, a growing number of healthcare professionals are concerned that smartphones may have a detrimental effect on the human brain and related psychological processes. There is evidence that social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook are essential drivers of smartphone usage, and there is also evidence that life satisfaction and “fear of missing out” are of particular importance with respect to internet usage and Internet Communication Disorder. A total of 2,299 individuals who owned WhatsApp and Facebook accounts were included in the study. Information on smartphone usage was collected via questionnaires following which smartphone use disorder, WhatsApp and Facebook Use Disorder, “fear or missing out” and life satisfaction were assessed. Results showed that smartphone use disorder was linked to WhatsApp Use Disorder and, to a lesser extent, to Facebook Use Disorder. The association between smartphone use disorder and WhatsApp Use Disorder was most strongly pronounced in females. In addition, “fear of missing out” predicted smartphone use disorder, and WhatsApp/ Facebook Use Disorder, and there was a definite link between these and perceived life satisfaction.
Sha P et al. Linking Internet Communication and Smartphone Use Disorder by taking a closer look at the Facebook and WhatsApp applications. Addict Behav Rep. 2018 Nov 23;9:100148.