Why are we all so addicted to our phones?

We are well and truly in the grip of the digital age and we are turning into a society of mindless zombies staring at our phones.

Turns out there's a reason for it… we're being hooked.

Like digital heroin our devices are turning us into addicts, purposely targeting the same area of our brain affected by drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Take a moment to think about how many times you check your phone on a daily basis.

The answer is sure to shock you. And what's even more shocking is that apps like Instagram, Facebook and Angry Birds are being specifically produced in order to make you addicted.

Joe Russell, an app developer from Melbourne, told Sunday Night his goal is to get as many people looking at his products for as many hours a day as possible.

Like digital heroin our devices are turning us into addicts, purposely targeting the same area of our brain affected by drugs like cocaine and heroin. Source: Sunday Night

He said: "We wouldn't be in business if we were making apps that people didn't want to use so we use all the techniques and tools available to us to make them as engaging as possible".

Ever wondered why you just can't put a game down? Or why you keeping checking to see how many 'likes' you got on your Instagram post?

Joe Russell reveals to Sunday Night the techniques used to make apps addictive.

"There are lots of different mechanisms. I mean 'challenge and reward' is a big one where the game provides the user with a challenge and then rewards them for achieving that", he said.

He said these rewards could be anything from a sound or an animation. "It's things that trigger that reward sensor in the brain and stimulate it. They release the dopamine and they make us want to use it more and more".

The app developer believes poker machines probably use similar techniques.

Joe Russell has revealed the techniques used to make apps addictive. Source: DreamWalk App Developers

Worldwide, Instagram now has 800 million monthly active users. It's one of the most used apps in Australia.

Joe Russell believes the reason so many people use it and enjoy using it is because of the social validation.

"If you're posting photos, whenever someone likes that photo, it triggers the dopamine in your brain and you get that social validation and that feeling of reward and success brings you back to the app to do it all over again."

Joe Russell is the founder and Creative Director of DreamWalk Apps. Joe and the team in Melbourne help startups and established brands to design and develop game-changing mobile apps. Book a free consultation today on their website.