Smartphones

I Say: Are we addicted to our phones? – Grosse Pointe News (subscription)


Where is your cell phone right now? Perhaps you’re reading this on your phone or your computer or reading the paper and your phone is a few inches away.

Cell phones have become the adult “Binky.” A security blanket of sorts. We rely on them to store information. We listen to podcasts or audio books, pay bills and watch movies on them. We use them to socialize. How many times have you said, or heard someone say, “My life is on that phone.”

Young people don’t set up their voicemail because it’s all about texting. They send thousands of texts a month. I don’t think they realize their phone is actually a phone. A while back, ABC News did a story on a 16-year-old who needed surgery because she got carpal tunnel from sending over 100 texts a day.

If we need to find information, we use our phone. Want to look up restaurants or movie times? We use our phone. Have a question about something? We use our phone to search for the answer.

People below a certain age don’t know what it was like to live without having access to a phone for everything. Back in the day we used the Yellow Pages to find a business or used a road atlas if we were going on a road trip. (I loved those.) GPS didn’t exist yet.

I drove by myself from Michigan to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, where I was going to spend time living and working. I had a car with only an AM/FM radio that didn’t always get reception. There was no satellite anything. But there were hours of silence on that trip. That wouldn’t be the case now.

In today’s world it is hard to imagine not having a cell phone. When cell phones began to become popular, I resisted getting one. “I don’t need one,” I said. “I’m fine.” Then, not long after uttering what now seems like a ridiculous statement, I got one.

It was great. I couldn’t believe the information I had at my fingertips. I could call someone, check email, look things up all without having to be at home or in front of a computer. It was as mobile as I was.

Cell phones are pricey and even though we complain, we still shell out a crazy amount to have one. They are almost less of a phone and more of a camera, a computer and a way to socialize.

Are we addicted to our cell phones? Are we lost without them? Is it annoying that companies make them out of glass so they break easily? Yes. To all of that.

Look around at people when you are out. Many are glued to their screens. And we’ve all heard someone in the grocery store chatting away on their phone while they browse the aisles.

It is said the average person looks at their phone more than 100 times a day. I know I have found myself checking email or Facebook during commercials. Really? I think to myself. You can’t go 88 seconds without being distracted by your phone?

Do you look at your phone before going to sleep? Of course, we know we aren’t supposed to because it disrupts our sleep and causes eye strain. Don’t even get me started with the radiation a cell phone emits. (I have a protective cover). We are supposed to limit our time on our phones, turn down the brightness and turn on the blue light filter.

Do we use our phones to cope with boredom? Maybe. Part of it is that we can find so many things to laugh at, discover, learn and distract us, that at times it is hard to put down. Maybe we could set limits for scrolling and browsing. That sounds like a good idea. I’ll make a note of it. Wait, where’s my phone?



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