Warning Issued To People Who Struggle To Watch Movie Without Looking At Their Phone

Experts have issued a warning to people who look at their phones while watching a movie.
Credit: Alamy

Experts have issued a stark warning to people who struggle to watch a movie without looking at their phones.

In today’s world, it can be hard to pay attention to one thing for any length of time.

Maybe it’s the TikTok effect, but watching a whole film, sometimes for several hours, can seem like an impossible task.

For most of us, it can be tricky to get through an entire movie without sneaking a look at our phones.

But it turns out, this could be quite a worrying move – and now a firm warning has been issued…

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New research suggests that checking your phone while watching a film doesn’t just detract from your viewing experience.

It could actually lead to a big problem.

A study titled ‘Do You Enjoy TV, while Tweeting? Effects of Multitasking on Viewers’ Transportation, Emotions and Enjoyment’ explores this phenomenon.

The study’s findings showed a correlation between phone usage during media consumption, a lack of emotional response and a decrease in attention span.

But that’s not all.

Multitasking on technology (or switching between screens) could actually affect the chemical balance of your brain, the research finds.

Texting on phone. 
It’s recommended that you don’t go on your phone while watching a movie. Credit: Alamy

A study with HeyHuman (as reported by BNN) claims that: “…frequently switching between gadgets can lead to the release of L-dopa and dopamine in the brain.”

Because the release of dopamine is an essential reward for the brain, screen switching could be highly addictive.

“Such habits could be more harmful than drug use and may lower IQ by rewiring the brain,” the study claims.

So the question arises – how much screen switching is too much?

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Well, Michael Rich, a Center on Media and Child Health director at Boston Children’s Hospital, has spoken about the issue with Harvard Medical School.

He explains: “Virtually all games and social media work on what’s called a variable reward system, which is exactly what you get when you go to Mohegan Sun and pull a lever on a slot machine.

“It balances the hope that you’re going to make it big with a little bit of frustration, and unlike the slot machine, a sense of skill needed to improve.”

Rich does, however, mitigate the instinct to go into a moral panic over the issue.

Instead, he explains: “We need to be asking, what’s happening when they’re staring at their smartphone in terms of their cognitive, social, and emotional development?

“As with most things, it will probably be a mix of positive and negative.

“Going forward with our eyes open, how can we enhance the positive and mitigate the negative?”

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.