Everyone is concerned about it. Lots of people think they are immune from it. MBF Blogs has raised the topic before. A local reader even mentioned it to me in the street. It’s smartphone addiction….
In a piece on NCC News (August 2011) Steve Bottari wrote about it amidst what he styled ‘a flurry of new studies’. They all concluded more or less that people can’t go very long without checking their mobiles.
It’s probably got worse since then. Checking habits put it at six and a half minutes. He said that data from the UK ‘found that 60% of kids with smartphones consider themselves “highly addicted” to their devices, double the number of adults who identified as such.’
He commented that smartphones are so much part of our lives, that ‘nearly half the teenagers surveyed admitting to using their smartphones in the bathroom.’
Bottari quoted Dr Brian Johnson, director of Addiction Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate University, who has claimed that ‘addiction isn’t the right word.’ He said that a better one is ‘compulsion.’ This is something people do need to seek professional help for, ‘if they find it’s impacting their daily lives to the point where it impairs normal function’, Johnson said.
Interestingly, he also felt that people have to worry about something very often, and smartphones fit the bill very well. One in three British adults owns a smartphone and in the USA the average age for first ownership is 16. The view is that in the UK kids start even younger.
The point is that whatever it’s called, most people couldn’t, wouldn’t live without them. They choose to live their lives believing that.
How to Recognise Yourself
Freelance writer and self-confessed phone addict Martha Roberts wrote in You magazine (February 2013) about how it threatens her friendships and a relationship with her son. She set out the tell-tale signs.
- know their phones are always on and always in sight
- never turn it to silent
- sleep with it charging near or in bed
- check it even enjoying real socialising in the real world
- go into denial when challenged about how much time they spend checking
How to Treat Yourself
She set out some simple steps:
- try to assert control by leaving the thing at home for an hour or two
- try to put it on silent when out and only look at it when going to the toilet
- write down what worries you and why you need to keep looking at it
- compartmentalise your technology with a phone for texts and calls, a tablet for social networking and emails and a PC for work
- check out Roger Warner’s DumbPhone Manifesto
Finally, Check out Peaches
Last September a minor internet sensation occurred when pictures were circulated of Peaches Geldof pushing a buggy with her poor 5-month old son, Astala Dylan Willow Geldof-Cohen, aboard while she was on the phone. She hit a bump on the pavement and the buggy fell forward and the child fell out….
… but Peaches held the phone safely wedged between ear and shoulder and kept talking. So that was alright then! She saved the phone!
Have a look.
Other posts to obsess about:
The Smartphone is Becoming the Asset That’s Just Too Big to Lose, 14 January 2013
50 Ways to Use a Smartphone, 8 August 2012