Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?

This summer, I’ve been using my phone less, but Cup of Jo editor Caroline has been using her phone more. Here’s a (wildly unofficial) quiz to see if you, too, are addicted to your smartphone…


Hello, my name is Caroline and I’m addicted to my smartphone. It wasn’t always this way—I used to think taking a break from your phone should be a priority.

Then a few weeks back, some friends and I were out to dinner and we posed a challenge: Everyone’s phone had to go face-down in the middle of the table. The first person to look at theirs would have to pay the tab. Guess who lost? (If you said me, you win!) To be fair, I was expecting an “important email.” Even so, I’m making a concerted effort to step away from the device.

How about you? Just for fun, here’s a quiz to see if you’re addicted to your phone…

1. You’re at a restaurant and your dinner companion gets up to use the restroom. How long does it take you to check your phone?
a) 2 seconds
b) 10 seconds
c) 30 seconds
d) I ‘m an alien and I wouldn’t check my phone

2. When you first wake up in the morning, how long are you conscious before checking your phone?
a) 2 seconds
b) 10 seconds
c) 30 seconds
d) I don’t check until after I’ve showered/brewed coffee/completed more important human activities

3. How do you feel about Instagramming food photos?
a) Wait, what did you just say? I was busy photographing my avocado toast
b) I’m guilty of this sometimes, on special occasions
c) When someone posts a food photo, I’m tempted to unfollow them
d) What’s Instagram again?

4. Do you bring your phone into the bathroom with you?
a) Always
b) Ehh…I’ve done it before
c) Only if there’s some kind of emergency
d) That’s disgusting, why are you asking me that?

5. You’re on an airplane and need to put your phone in airplane mode. How does this make you feel?
a) Like the flight attendant is my mortal enemy
b) Fairly annoyed. Now I’ll have to spend the whole flight wondering what important social updates I’m missing
c) Fine. At least I can properly focus on a book or movie
d) Secretly joyous that the ringing beast is dead

6. When’s the last time you stopped, mid-conversation, and brandished your phone to display a photo, YouTube video or other example that “added something” to the discussion?
a) Um…I’m actually showing this quiz to my friend, on my phone, right now
b) Earlier today
c) Sometime in the last week
d) Never. Shoving phones in people’s faces is rude

7. Can you watch an entire TV show without referring to your phone?
a) TV shows were made for live tweeting! No way.
b) No; checking my phone while watching TV is my way of multitasking
c) Maybe, if the show is captivating enough
d) Yes! One screen is enough, thank you

8. Where is your phone when you go to sleep?
a) Tucked gently under my pillow
b) On my bedside table
c) Elsewhere in the bedroom, probably charging
d) Purposefully left in some other part of my home

9. Uh-oh…looks like it might rain! Do you immediately reach for your phone to tell you the precise moment when drops will fall?
a) Immediately. But only after I take a photo of dark clouds to post on Twitter and Instagram. #STORM!
b) Of course; weather apps were made for a reason
c) Only if I’ve forgotten my umbrella
d) Wait—your phone can tell you when it’s going to rain?

If you could only have ONE of the following options for the rest of your earthly days, which would you choose?
Option A: Coffee, alcohol, chocolate, cheese and happiness
Option B: Your phone

Time to add up your score…
Give yourself 3 points for A answers; 2 points for Bs; 1 point for Cs; zero points for Ds.
For the bonus question: If you chose option B, add 10 points.

If you got 37-21 points : You are officially addicted to your phone. Check it before you wreck it. And by “it,” we mean your peace of mind.

If you got 20-11 points: You like your phone. You might even love your phone. But your relationship to portable technology seems (mostly) healthy.

If you got 10 or fewer points: Congratulations! You’re not all that into your phone. And, um, who are you? Can you help us???

P.S. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? And what kind of underwear do you wear?

(Illustration by Julia Rothman. Quiz written by Caroline Donofrio)

  1. Nowadays smartphone is a part of our life, the majority of us are addicted to the smartphone even me.

  2. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing this great article!

  3. Its extremely wonderful journal with significantly useful data, thanks most for inscribing this nice journal here for the US.

  4. Hi,
    Yes i am addicted to this device, how to get ride of this?

  5. Smartphones are highly involved in a persons life and each and every time we are using phones, but your post helps us.

  6. I’m not obsessed with my smartphone, but I am obsessed with Cup of Jo and have been for years. I know you guys both just got back from vacation, but these kind of fluffy posts are frustrating, and the blog content feels really lightweight. I don’t want to take a cosmo-style quiz on this blog; I’d rather read the really thoughtful writing you usually provide around these topics. It feels like Motherhood Mondays are the only “meaty” content recently. Again, adore this blog and am only offering constructive criticism as a longtime reader who is a little put off by the fluffier posting…totally understand you need to pace yourselves, but it’s felt off these past weeks (minus the two weeks of vacation). Makes me sad! I love your voice and commentary!

  7. 11 points! :D

  8. A smartphone is a mobile phone (also known as cell phones) with an advanced mobile operating system which combines features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld use.[1][2][3] Smartphones, which are usually pocket-sized, typically combine the features of a mobile phone, such as the abilities to place and receive voice calls and create and receive text messages, with those of other popular digital mobile devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs), such as an event calendar, media player, video games, GPS navigation, digital camera and camera video . Most smartphones can access the Internet and can run a variety of third-party software components (“apps”). They typically have a color display with a graphical user interface that covers 70% or more of the front surface. The display is often a touchscreen, which enables the user to use a virtual keyboard to type words and numbers and press onscreen icons to activate “app” features.

  9. I love the mix of post content on your blog, Joanna. It’s funny, sweet, encouraging, inspirational – and not many blogs manage to capture that perfect balance. Yours does! Thank you for all your hard work you put into this for your readers, and for your bright outlook on life.

  10. I may of scored way higher than i would of liked to on this test! Unfortunately i may be one of the people highly addicted to their phone, maybe some un-plug time would be good for me

  11. 4 points! :D

  12. Bonus question is the best!

  13. Also (I am now commenting after reading a bunch of comments), I admit I am not the perfect commenter and do sometimes post criticism, but I don’t understand the people who can’t grasp that this is a LIFESTYLE blog that has a mix of content. I would not come here anymore if it was just Motherhood Mondays (although I do enjoy reading them) or more serious stuff… just like a bunch of people would leave if it was only nail polish and silly quizzes. I come to this site to get some relief from the daily grind… I relish these silly/fluffy posts, actually, and enjoy them more than the serious stuff. I do think this site has a nice balance, though, and I hope it stays that way. I really wonder about people who complain about some of the lighter stuff. Lighten up!

  14. Lol this is amusing. I didn’t actually tally my results for the quiz… I think it may make me seem less addicted to my phone than I really am hahaha. I admit I am pretty addicted… I am guessing not as much as some people, though – yikes.

  15. I really admire people that don’t own a smartphone. Looking at you Mary Lou Redmann!

  16. I just typed this and it disappeared! But anyway, you handle “two cents” well. Reminded me of my teenage years when girls would say “i don’t mean to be rude…” and of course follow up with something rude! I guess some things never change. Further, I am a grad student and am not a Mom… because of this, I enjoy this type of content. Perfect for a mid-morning giggle. You have such a large following of diverse readers, everyone will like different things but the spectrum that you offer is worth commending. Cheers! Edye

  17. You handle the “two cents” well. Reminds me of my teenage years whenever girls would say ” I don’t mean to be rude but…” followed of course by something rude. I enjoy your blog and like any blog EVER not every single post will resonate with me (the reader). I am not a mother, so I enjoy the posts like this one! Not serious but perfect for a mid-morning giggle. You have a GIANT audience to appeal to and I think you do a great job of diversifying your content. Cheers! Edye

  18. 10 points!!! I only really use my phone to keep me busy when I’m out and I have time to kill, and as my mp3 player. When I’m at home I use my phone for music and only really check it when I get a notification. I do, however, have a problem with Facebook and internet at HOME. I’m constantly catching myself checking FB and bumming around the web when I had meant to check something specific and move on. I get soooo distracted D:

  19. no need this test. Already knew that I am addicted ! Haha

  20. As a daily reader of your blog for years (I remember when you got married- aw!) I must say I love your content. It’s totally valid that someone posted about things being “fluffy” lately but it’s just what I needed. Plus, um, moving is insane. So hope that’s going well! You and Caroline are doing some awesome stuff that always makes me smile no matter the content! Hope you keep it up because its a really fun site to look forward to. :-)

  21. Re the blog content, I’m not so much a fan of quizzes like these, as it makes me feel like I’m reading one of those ridiculous glossy magazines that I avoid like the plague… BUT I appreciate the need for balance in your content too, and I don’t need every post to be thoughtful and deep/meaningful. A bit of fluff is fun every now and then. :) (I’ll just skip over the quizzes in future!)

    Love your work Jo and Caroline.

  22. I love the mix of post content on your blog, Joanna. It’s funny, sweet, encouraging, inspirational – and not many blogs manage to capture that perfect balance. Yours does! Thank you for all your hard work you put into this for your readers, and for your bright outlook on life.

    P.s. The Beauty Uniform and the Motherhood Around the World are my favorite series right now. Love them!

  23. Joanna, your responses to people’s comments are so sincere and warm. You’re awesome. I love, love your blog because of that exact balance that you describe – it’s a good reflection of everyday life. And if anything, there is so much “heavy” stuff out there right now that I love visiting your site and getting a dose of something light and fun, or just something hopeful!!
    This quiz cracks me up. I’m guilty of so many of them. It just started storming here, and what did I do?? I checked the weather app on my phone! Why, oh why? I hear the thunder and the rain! Do I really need my phone to tell me that it’s storming?! Haha. Keep up the great work to you and Caroline!

  24. I don’t have a smartphone, and most of the time I don’t feel the need to have one. I’m usually close to a computer (and like some others here, I’m a little addicted to my laptop), so I don’t have to look things up too much on my phone. I try to plan ahead, too–look up directions before I go out, for example.

    I teach middle school girls, and the funny thing is, most of them have smartphones. (I like to joke that they have better phones than I do!) What scares me is how addicted THEY are to their phones already. Even though the school has policies against phones, they still haul them out all the time. And during break and lunchtime, they’re on their phones rather than talking with their friends. It makes me worry about how they’re learning to interact (or not) with each other.

  25. Just a note about the content, I love it! I find your blog so relaxing , whether the topics are heavy or light! I am especially loving the my beauty uniform posts, I’m turning 34 and I’m becoming more comfortable in my skin and enjoy reading about these confident women!
    Keep up the good work Joanna!

  26. Joanna, I have read your blog for years, but just recently started looking at the comments, and this is one of the few times I have commented myself. Thank you for your thoughtful replies to your many readers’ comments, and for your wonderful variety of posts. I find myself recommending your blog to friends (and acquaintances, and random people at the grocery store haha)frequently. I have followed many blogs over the years, but yours is one I keep coming back to. Keep on keepin’ on :)

  27. This is a great quiz! I did a few academic research on this topic and the results were pretty interesting. Even though during the research process I got so many complaints from people who hated to admit that they are addicted to their smartphone… :)

  28. I have never been a cell phone person. My first phone was a flip phone that came free with my little sister’s smart phone. Since then, I’ve only had 3 upgrades and only for the sheer fact that the company was no longer making those phones anymore. However, I’m not saying that I dont participate in these actions. They are just few and far between. I like going out in the wilderness and not getting service. I actually yell at my guy when we go out because if there is a single moment of silence, he pulls out the cell phone. It gets aggravating but also understandable in this day and age.

  29. I scored a 12, so not too bad. I am 27 and didn’t get a smartphone until this past December, so I certainly was late to the party. I held out for so long because I thought that I was making a statement, I was so sick of every Friday night of hanging out with friends turning into an iphone convention. However, I was always lost (navigationally) and calling up my closest friends (or my Dad) in hysterics for directions. Also, I was constantly telling people to look things up on their phone during conversation, so its not like I was guiltless. Now I am a convert. When I space out and the battery dies (often), I like being unreachable, but I have definitely become addicted to having internet access, whether to look things up or kill time on facebook. I also need it for work communication, so that has made the dependence deepen. Most people at my company have two smartphones. I thought that this was overkill, but now I am seriously considering getting a second phone so that I can at least put my work iphone in a drawer and stop feeling compelled to read non-urgent company email while I am out to dinner with friends at 8:30 on a Tuesday night. Loved the quiz!

  30. I still have a blackberry (ugh) so there’s only so much I could be addicted to it…I scored a 12.

  31. OH my! The bonus question cracked me up!!

  32. I am addicted, but also feel completely exhilarated when I leave my home at phone for a day, or don’t charge it right away. It always feels like a mini vacation, which is kind of sad…

  33. My husband switched to a non-smartphone (after dropping and breaking his phone for the second time in the space of a few months) in order to break his addiction to checking stuff. He said he was surprised by how rarely he missed it. Google maps is the main thing he actually wishes he still had access to on his phone.

    I think a key piece that makes smartphones so addictive is not so much the things that we want or need to look up, but that we get in the habit of checking for updates to sites like facebook, twitter, instagram, or pinterest. It becomes compulsive so easily … you check the time on your phone and suddenly you realise you’ve now spent 5 minutes reading email that wasn’t the least bit urgent. Or you look up the weather forecast for the afternoon and then you’re suddenly scrolling through twitter.

    My solution has been to remove a lot of the “compulsive” apps from my phone so that I am only checking those unimportant update-oriented sites once or twice a day when I’m on my laptop at home.

  34. wow, awesome that quite a few people don’t have smartphones—pretty inspiring!

  35. I don’t have a smartphone either and I turned the texting off on my phone. I don’t feel that the quality of my life is any less because of it.

  36. I have a moderate addiction to my smartphone. I’m pretty conscious about not whipping it out when I’m spending time with other people, unless I’m quickly taking a photo of our kids playing together or finding us directions or something.

    But at home or by myself? Way too addicted. I can barely watch a TV show without ‘multitasking’ on my phone. What I’m trying to remember to do lately is to
    a) just do the thing I’m doing, without also adding my phone into the mix, and
    b) put down the phone and read a book, or organize my desk, or cook something new. All things I’ve enjoyed in the past that I’ve been pushing aside for brain-numbing time on my phone lately.

  37. This quiz made me laugh and smile. It didn’t seem ‘fluffy’ to me at all first commenter. Keep up the good work Team COJ.

  38. this rings very true (no pun intended). totally guilty. great quiz, caroline, loved it.

  39. Honestly, I feel like the only way to not get sucked in is to just not have one. My husband used to have one, but he got frustrated with it and has given it up for now. We do like smart phones for navigation purposes, but on our trip moving from Arizona to Washington this summer, all we needed was a road atlas and to pay attention to signs. I think being obsessed with my computer, though, which is probably just as “bad.”


  40. Umm I had no idea I was so guilty of relying on my phone. Alas.

    I’m happy to say, though, that for the most part my friends and I truly focus on each other when we’re hanging out and if our one very-addicted friend pulls hers out we give her a ration of sh*t for it.

  41. I know I am addicted to a point. I need to take a chill pill. But at times I dont want to be bothered with my phone and I grab my tablet so there needs to be a tablet quiz too lol

  42. This post was hilarious and eye-opening. No one can be serious all the time – and no blog can either! Keep the light AND the meaty stuff coming – love it all. Thanks for being such a joy to read, and great job bringing on Caroline! I think she’s been a great addition.

  43. Joanna you’re such a gracious person! :) Great post, I’m a total addict but I’m not sorry about it :)

  44. Great quiz! So fun. But there aren’t true/false questions, so maybe you’d have to correct the score section…

  45. hi lauren and katie, thank you so much for your notes! reader feedback is so important to me, as we want everyone to really enjoy the site. i’ve always strived to have a good mix of thoughtful, more earnest posts (motherhood mondays, personal posts, thoughts on anxiety and depression, etc.) and lighter, fun posts (nail polish colors, a sleepwalking dog, how a key really works…:) since daily life comprises serious moments AND light moments, i try to reflect this on the site. hope this makes sense. but i completely understand your desire for thoughtful posts and i’m glad you let me know, and i’m glad to say that a bunch are coming up very soon, about relationships, motherhood, career and books. please stay tuned, and thank you so much for your notes xoxo

  46. Totally obsessed. Guilty!

  47. When I first starting reading, I thought “Oh no! I’m absolutely addicted.”

    But the questions we more eye-opening. I’m really not as addicted as I thought! In the end, 12 points is pretty commendable.

    I find that my “need” to keep the phone near me comes in waves. Some days (or weeks) are worse than others, but it might be balancing itself out.

    My only issue is not getting on my phone to “look something up” related to a movie or show I’m watching. I argue that it’s FOR the benefit of what we’re watching, but my boyfriend hates it. That’s when you know you need to “check it” — when it’s bothering the ones you care about.

    Great post!

  48. I’m afraid I have to second Lauren Fraley’s opinion above. I absolutely love the blog but not pieces like this one. What I particularly love — the Motherhood series, thoughtful quotes or photos, and posts that spark great conversations in the comments section, like the recent one about exercise. Just my two cents!

  49. B. says...

    This is hilarious. I got a 4, and the trick is, dont have a smart phone. No, i am not 80 years old. I am 27 and work in science publishing, and yes, you can be a modern, connected, successful human without one.

  50. 11 points!I do love my phone, but the more I’m surrounded by technology, the more I’m inclined to put it down and live in the moment.

    Great quiz!

  51. mary, that is so sweet :) and huge congratulations on your new baby!

  52. @mary lou, no way! that’s awesome. i found alex’s old flip phone while we were packing for the move and it seemed like an antique.

  53. I’m embarrassingly addicted to my phone. My boyfriend points this out all the time.

  54. Whew, I’m a 10.

  55. 6 points!!! I’m addicted to my Macbook tho. I chalk my lack of smart phone addiction up to the fact that I’m a work at home mom of 3, who has ADD, and can’t focus on that darn thing! I love Instagram, but Facebook on a phone is too much for me to process in 20 seconds. My advice? Find other stuff to occupy your brain?

  56. Kicking the phone habit is so hard!! I have a 10 week old, and I’m totally guilty of sometimes trying harder to get a photo of a major moment for her than actually just ENJOYING THE MOMENT. Thankfully, I’m getting better at catching myself, and so is my husband. The other night we went to a concert together and I was trying to take a photo, and he just said “babe, take a mental picture.” And he was so right.

  57. Ahaha number 7 made me laugh as I’m always getting told off by my boyfriend for looking at my phone when I’m supposed to be watching something on TV. He now confiscates my phone before the show starts!

    Kat x

  58. jm says...

    This quiz made me laugh out loud! The illustration is perfect. So glad you are back! And, yes, I am addicted to my phone.

  59. I don’t own a smartphone. What does that make me? I just don’t want another distraction in my life.

  60. my Boyfriend would say im addict but I think It is just nice the way it makes life easier.

    I all thought need to learn to put it away every now and than. It is so relaxing to have a vacation without one but I feel like it is impossible to live without one in ‘the normal life’. Especially when your in college. We need one to see our schedule and sometimes we even have to download an app to use in classes. Modern life is build one those phones I gues.

  61. darnit!This is so true, and being married to a guy who also is glued to his phone makes it that much harder to break the habit. We definitely need to make an effort to just step away from the phones more often.

  62. I’m not obsessed with my smartphone, but I am obsessed with Cup of Jo and have been for years. I know you guys both just got back from vacation, but these kind of fluffy posts are frustrating, and the blog content feels really lightweight. I don’t want to take a cosmo-style quiz on this blog; I’d rather read the really thoughtful writing you usually provide around these topics. It feels like Motherhood Mondays are the only “meaty” content recently. Again, adore this blog and am only offering constructive criticism as a longtime reader who is a little put off by the fluffier posting…totally understand you need to pace yourselves, but it’s felt off these past weeks (minus the two weeks of vacation). Makes me sad! I love your voice and commentary!