Smartphone owns its owner: can we function well without? Version after version, all outpace human, demand attention everywhere
*update* Aug 10, 2015
People Who Text While Walking Are Annoying As Hell, Study Confirms Because you're focusing on such a complex mental task while propelling your physical body through space, you actually adopt a slower, more protective gait that involves taking smaller steps, taking more steps and raising your feet unnecessarily high to walk up stairs or over curbs...“It annoys the hell out of everybody walking behind you,” Earnest told HuffPost. “If I’m trying to walk around you and you veer to the right, then I have to counter even further to the right rather than bump into you, and then that puts me at risk."
*update* May 2, 2015
Dr Frank Lipman: I believe multi-tasking is over-rated! Recently, I saw a study that said the average smartphone user checks their device about six times an hour. Small wonderso many people these days are feeling distracted and overwhelmed! Making matters worse is that we are the ones constantly interrupting ourselves, tapping that Pavlovian bell we call the smartphone, checking it when it’s buzzing and when it’s not.
If you have your smartphone next to you all the time – even when you sleep – then perhaps it’s time to question what this level of attachment means. Often, it’s easier to observe behaviours in other people than notice behaviours in ourselves.
Try this out. Watch how other people around you use their smartphones. Notice how frequently they check them. Does their level of use seem healthy to you? Researchers suggested that smartphones should carry a health warning so that users know they are potentially addictive.
There is also evidence that smartphone use can have a detrimental effect on communication with the people right next to you. Less communication and a breakdown in communication were some of the issues participants in the study raised. Some participants also said smartphone use distracted them from many aspects of life including work and studying. Our relationship with technology is complex. And as it’s something most of us use every day, it’s worth exploring this relationship. Does using your smartphone bring out certain behaviours in you? Are you in control of your use? Does using your smartphone bring out certain behaviours in you? Are you in control of your use?
"We’re here to save you” and she yelled back, “Wait just a second. I need to take this for Instagram!" Lucky for the lady, she managed to float in the water for about 20 minutes until a boat arrived to save her. Official reports of the event suggest that, after nearly a half an hour in the water, the woman was still holding her cell phone when help arrived. Although there’s no mention of this in the reports, I like to think that the rescuers arrived and yelled down to her, “We’re here to save you” and she yelled back, “Wait just a second. I need to take this for Instagram!”
The problem with smartphones
It’s not likely that you’ve walked off of a pier while staring at your cell phone, but it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ve been distracted by your phone in a moment when your attention should have been elsewhere. We like to think that we’re experts in how and when to use our smartphones, but the truth is that they’ve really only been around for a few years. Usage and adoption of new technology nearly always outpaces our understanding of how that technology will ultimately affect us.
Take cars, for example. The first car was built in 1886 by a German engineer name Karl Benz. It took another 30 years for cars to be widely available in the US, when Henry Ford perfected the assembly line and other methods of manufacturing. Even then, drivers were well aware of the fatal risks of operating a massive machine at high speeds. And yet, seat belts did not become mandatory in cars until 1968! Usage and adoption of cars far outpaced our management of the risks.
The first iPhone was released in 2007, so we’re barely eight years into the era of smartphone technology. Do we even know what the risks are yet? Let’s take a look at some of the research that’s been done, as well as some of the basic precautions we should take to ensure that we harness the power of smartphones, rather than letting them pull us along for the ride.
The research - Technology has real psychological and physical effects that can be very detrimental. Here’s my supporting evidence:
EXHIBIT A: TECHNOFERENCE
A study produced last year at BYU suggests that even brief technology interruptions – a quick glance at a text message, a swipe during a conversation – can create conflict and “negative outcomes in a relationship. There were correlations between “technoference” and lower life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, and technology-related conflict. In other words, real psychological effects.
EXHIBIT B: TECHNECK
We’re all-too-familiar with repetitive stress injuries (RSI) as a result of keyboard use – how about a new injury related to technology? Researchers deemed the injury “techneck,” defined as a “specific crease just above the collar bone that is caused by repeated bending of the neck to look at the screen of a portable device.” As you bend your neck further, the amount of force you’re supporting increases. Do this hundreds of times a day and the result is a problem that “deteriorate the back and neck muscles to the point of needing surgery.” And remember, we’ve only been really engrossed in smartphones for just a few years.
EXHIBIT C: THE PUMP SCALE
A real scale has been devised to measure how much of a negative impact mobile phones can have on our behavior.
The acronym “PUMP” stands for “Problematic Usage of Mobile Phones.” The PUMP research points to real similarities between substance abuse addictions and technology overuse – to the point that “though problematic mobile phone use has not, to date, been recognized as a diagnosable condition, experts in the field are debating its inclusion as one.”
An interesting observation about technology is that sometimes the most productive people we know are actually the most guilty of “technoference” and other smartphone sins. Occasionally, people confuse productivity with checking their phones, when that couldn’t be further from reality. Since phones form powerful habits, the best solutions are actions we can take to weaken the strength of the habit loops. Here are the two that have worked best for me:
1. Weaken the habit loop
Phones have a variety of different triggers and they’re nearly inescapable. You might have alert sounds for multiple different apps, vibrations, and notifications onscreen. Even when the sound is off, you can see your phone light up from several feet away and instinctively reach for it. To weaken the habit loop, just turn off the triggers. On my phone, I’ve disabled every notification except for text messages and phone calls, which are the primary means of communicating with others. I’ve even disabled email notifications, though I did leave the little badge to see how many emails I have.
Life is great with no notifications – the external triggers are gone. However, there are still internal triggers that cause me to reach for my phone, like when I’m bored. That’s what solution #2 is for.
2. Put cellphones in their place
Since the beginning, the mobile phone’s greatest asset has always been in the name itself: mobile. Our phones can go anywhere with us.
If triggers are the primary reason smartphones are addictive, mobility is a close second. The old land lines stayed in one place; to make a call, you had to plant yourself in one location and stay there for the duration of the call.
One of the best ways to reduce your phone’s negative impact is to assign it a place. When you’re at home, set it on a table or shelf out of reach. At work, leave it in your bag or purse out of reach. When you don’t give your phone a place, that’s when things get out of control. On the sofa? You check your phone. On the toilet? You check your phone? In bed? You check your phone. If you find a place for your phone, and always leave it there, you can minimize the damage. Keeping your phone out of reach will help you wean yourself from the instinctive habit of reaching for it when you’re bored.
Remember – we’re still in the earliest stages of smart phones; not even a decade has passed since they showed up on the scene. If you take some time to create good smartphone habits now, you can save yourself from the negative effects that await in the increasingly tech-dependent future.
23 Signs You’re Addicted To Your Smartphone
"get slightly panicky when your phone is out of your line of sight."
"...and ridiculously panicked when you accidentally leave it AT HOME"
"sleep with your phone on your nightstand, or worse, IN your bed next to you"
"maintain three to five text threads/Snapchat chains going throughout most days"
"freak out at least once a week that you can’t find your phone, and then realize it’s in your hand"
A majority text or talk while driving
68% of adult Americans sleep with their cellphones next to their beds. A majority text or talk while driving. A Harris Interactive poll shows that a third check their phones during movies. 20% do this during church. Nearly 10% have admitted to checking their phones during intimate moments. Some take selfies with the dearly departed at funerals. And a new trend of taking a selfie while on the toilet, aka the “poopie,” has emerged. Cellphone addiction is in the same family as other technology addictions, such as computers and gaming, which are all part of a larger family of behavioral addictions (to gambling, exercise, sex, etc.). Anything that can produce pleasure in your brain has the potential of becoming addictive. Loss of control is the essential element of any addiction.
texting or emailing while driving
31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed. Narly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older text or email while driving.
Smartphone Addiction: More Than Half Of Smartphone Owners Believe They Suffer From Nomophobia, Survey Finds
Smartphone addiction, compared to other addictions, is fairly acceptable but it can still be debilitating for some. The anxiety that some people feel when they're without their phones is real and there's even a term for it: nomophobia or the fear of being without a mobile phone. A new study has found that more than half of smartphone owners believe they're addicted to their devices.
Smartphones and the Thin Line between Effective Communication and Overwhelming Addiction
Did you know that 85% of people admit they’d rather give up drinking water than delete all their apps? The advent of smartphones has completely changed the face of communication throughout the world, granting users access to the internet, thousands of apps, and a plethora of media so that they can feel connected in a way they never felt before. But when does the need for communication turn into obsession and, eventually, addiction?
37% of adults and 60% of teenagers admit they are addicted to their smartphones, according to a recent study from Confused. Most of them would rather give up drinking water than delete all their applications. The smartphone apps most widely used are ones for checking email, waking up in the morning, finding dates, navigating to work and “feeling happy.”
Among other interesting findings, the study revealed that 81% of smartphone users always keep their phones on, even in bed, while 51% of adults admit they would have a hard time parting with their precious device while socializing or even using the bathroom.
- Confident to text while driving? It costs 25% of ALL car accidents: 1,600,000/yr, 330,000 injuries/yr, 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY
- Traditional vs smartphone bank: open a bank account in just 8 minutes? you can lose it even faster
- Japan Urges Limit on Cell Phone Use by Kids
- Be decent (no accidental porn)? Dress up 24/7! A toddler (guarded by none) Google Glassing everything, everyone around!
- Tech takes over driver's wheel, remote controls engine, steering... Recall: wireless connection to turn off a Jeep as it drives
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