The number of glassy-eyed, finger-swiping Candy Crush Saga users who live among us is staggering: 93m people play this sweet little app more than 1bn times per day.
To be an addict, by definition, is to habituate to something compulsively or obsessively. Candy Crushers can be found riding trains and buses around the world, missing their stops, tripping onto platforms and wandering into crowds of people. They're sitting at the desk next to you, heads down, twitchy fingers trailing set of jelly-looking fruits. They search for quiet places to play, away from kids and spouses, and find themselves locked in the bathroom, trying not to drop the phone into the bathwater. Perhaps you are reading this with a blush of recognition.
But this goes beyond Candy Crush. The field of addictive apps is crowded with the Tinders, assorted Flappys and 2048s of the world. (I am hooked on something called Tiny Tower, an older app which is actually horrible.) A couple of years ago, it was Angry Birds. It's is now time for some tales from the edge, collected from different corners of the internet.
Secrets, toilets and lies
Secret-sharing apps were made for people who are unable to voice their problems in a productive way. This is a perfect congregation spot for Candy Crush addicts. Here are a few of the best culled from Whisper – view more here:
On Reddit, you can find a subreddit called DeadBedrooms, which is dedicated to people in relationships with no physical intimacy. Apps are a hot topic. This thread is not for the faint of heart, but here is one excerpt: "Good God. My husband plays Sudoku on his phone almost immediately upon getting in bed and then first thing in the morning. I hate that game so much ..."
Tips for coping
Guardian commenters addressed their battles earlier this year. Here are a few choice comments left under Stuart Heritage's harrowing February essay about deleting Candy Crush.
Meanwhile, on Quora, there is a discussion entitled 'How do I get over my Candy Crush Saga addiction? How on earth is swiping candies and bombs to clear an arbitrary (and often frustrating) goal so addictive?' Candy addict Samson Yee recommends that we all take up internet coding instead:
My sister is at level 410 and is calling it "pretty normal in Hong Kong". Somebody needs to call the WHO. Thanks to you asking this question, I've just quit, just before reaching level 100. Thank you for helping me, please let me help you in return. Delete the app. Press and hold the icon, little "x" top left corner. It's going to threaten you, saying that it will delete all your data, it's okay. It's just "data". You can do it. I just did, thanks to you. Yes your friends ( the ones you want to keep ) have quit too. You are right. Life really is too short for sliding candies around. DELETE, MOVE ON, spend your time on something else. Try Code Academy, get a book. "The lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri was really good. Paul Auster's "Invisible". "What the dog saw" by Malcolm Gladwell is a shorter, easier read.
The tip offering the quickest results comes from a Quora user who made the wise decision to post as Anonymous:
Tell your parents you spent $700 of their money on the game like I did. I was never allowed to play after that
And then there's Twitter, where users don't really seem to be coping at all, and in fact appear to be heading in the wrong direction:
Your turn. Share your stories of app shame and redemption in the comments below or by telling us on Twitter (@GuardianUS) and we'll add your thoughts below.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010