It seems like nowadays people can’t go anywhere without their smartphones. Whether its checking the weather, e-mail, bank account, or Facebook updates, smartphones have made mobile connectivity so accessible that today’s younger generations seem much more “addicted” to their smartphones.
According to Erica Swallow, associate editor of Mashable, the United Kingdom has declared itself a “smartphone-addicted” country. Ofcom, a UK telecommunications regulator, released the following statistics as part of their study on smartphone usage in the UK:
- 37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are highly addicted to their smartphones.
- 51% of adults and 65% of teens say they have used their smartphone while socializing with others.
- 23% of adults and 34% of teens have used their smartphones during mealtimes.
- 22% of adult and 47% of teens admitted using or answering their smartphone while in the bathroom
I’m all for being connected in a new media world, but when does all of this connectivity become a technology overload? If 34 percent of teenagers are using their smartphones during mealtimes, where are their manners? Are they using textonyms to ask if they can be excused from the table?
James Thickett, Ofcom director of market research said, “Smartphones are changing social etiquette, and technology is now driving our values.”
It’s not just teenagers that are becoming addicted to their smartphones, many adults can be found in this same category.
So how do you measure yourself on your smartphone addiction?
Experts say there are a few signs that would classify you as an “addict.”
- The first sign is if you check your phone constantly, not necessarily for missed calls, but text messages, status updates, e-mails, push notifications, etc.
- Second, your checking becomes so frequent you develop “checking habits” or the urgency to update or check certain applications such as Facebook, but within 10 minutes of each other. Most “checks” don’t last more than 30 seconds, but it’s the constant glancing down at your phone screen that classifies under this behavior.
- Third, you can’t roam around your house or office without having your phone with an arm’s reach.
- Another sign of possible addiction is not being able to leave home without your phone. Some people describe it as “being lost” without their phones.
In a world where media and technology continue to drive the propellers of communication, the statistics mentioned above will continue to increase. We as a society must recognize this and hold steady in our values, but embrace technology and create a balance between the two.
For example, limiting teenagers to their cell phone usage at home and especially at the dinner table creates a sense of stability between their need to socialize and the parent’s need to teach their children discipline and spend quality time with them.
Another example for an addict is, [you already know who you are] first off, admit it. Secondly, recognize that sometimes being without a cell phone signal can be a blessing.
Like all things in life, maintaining balance, especially in an ever-changing-socialnomic-world, is key.