Addiction? To Your Smartphone…? Even as many of you out there shake your head in shock, grasping even tighter to that little device in your hand or perhaps eyes quickly surveying the room to ensure your particular electronic device of choice (iPhone, Android….) is within sight, there are others out there (who know you well) sagely nodding their head and calmly thinking “about f*cking time you realized it…”.
Although it wouldn’t take a scientist to witness the down turned heads in coffee shops around the globe, people nearly walking into each other on the street not bothering to glance up too busy with their latest app, or (and this one I find the most disturbing) couples out for dinner, lights dim, candles lit, quiet music is playing through the chic restaurant… and still both are furiously tapping away on these little devices. Yet, the draw of the smartphone era has indeed pulled in Science with a study recently completed at Stanford. The results? Something now known as “iPhone Addiction” (and in case you’re wondering, yes there are recovery programs out there to help you get over this).
With 200 participants, a few interesting points included:
– 75% of participants admitted falling asleep with their iPhones
– 69% said they were more likely to forget their wallets in the morning than their iPhones
– 32% of those who were not yet a “confessed addict” expressed concern that they would become addicted some day
and my personal favorite… 41% said that losing their iPhone would be “a tragedy”.
A tragedy?! Seriously? Have you seen the state of the world around us? Have you watched the news recently…? The financial crisis, the structure of our educational institutes, the increase in domestic abuse, the environmental situation….? And yet, losing an iPhone could be deemed a tragedy.
As a smartphone user myself, I do understand how it is a doorway to information and can be a valuable device. The news is readily available, humor is just a click a way, photos can be taken and memories saved. My smartphone is a fantastic tool and that’s where it ends.
Smartphones should not be taking the place of our social interactions (Facebook is not the same as real conversation, you know the kind where you have a fluid moving exchange instead of stilted statements through “Status Updates and Comments”). It should not interfere with our health (it has been demonstrated that using a PC/Tablet/Smartphone right before bed can effect your sleeping habits… imagine what sleeping with it does?) and let’s not allow ourselves to be careless with those wonderful moments we share with our loved ones (if you’re out for dinner with a friend or lover… worry less about getting that image for your blog or twitting the joke the waiter just shared, instead savor these moments with the person next to you).
How much time do we lose due to the lure of these little devices? According to the latest statistics Americans spend on average 2.7 hours on their smartphones daily (remember that is an average not the high end) with 91% of their mobile internet access devoted to (faux) socializing. I utilize the word faux as it describes the detachment in which we are learning to communicate. Europe is no different, which is probably why a brand new statistic from the UK divorce website Divorce online quotes “Facebook” as being a factor in divorce proceedings in….33% of the cases (with the majority of Facebook access coming from smartphones).
If you’re uncertain if you too are one of these “undercover addicts” try something, put down your handy device, and try to go about your entire day without it. I’m wondering how many are currently cringing at the mere thought? Can’t leave the house without it as it’s your “mobile” then turn off data for a day, see what happens.
If you do try this out, let me know how you do, I’d love to hear your experience.
Alessandra Sagredo, Spiritual Hedonist