Cell phone addiction and Digital Culture – the new sugar?
Cell phone addiction problems
If you are like me, you may be suffering from cell phone addiction where there is a constant need to check your cell phone pretty much every 5 minutes with the vague fear that you have missed something (FOMO or “fear of missing out”), a tweet, a like or a text message. Are we getting hooked on technology so much so that we can’t separate ourselves from our digital world? If we keep this up, the next big thing will be digital detox camps or digital rehab. Can we truly switch off or at least wean ourselves off these digital drugs, despite them being highly addictive? Are devices the 21st century global drug of choice? There are around (depending on what statistics you look at) 2 billion cell phones globally, so do we have a global epidemic on our hands? Global corporations like apple, Sony, HTC, Samsung and Huawei are our biggest dealers.
“According to an article on psychology today, 40% of the American population suffers from cell phone addiction. On top of this, 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from Nomophobia, i.e. the fear of being without a smartphone”
Excerpt from: addictiontips.net
Digital culture is defined as our interwoven relationship with technology and the almost addictive, insatiable appetite to always have it close to us. However, it goes deeper than that. Digital culture is where we, as consumers, want to connect with companies (such as retailers) on our terms and where we feel an urgent need to have our desires fulfilled. The headphones I liken to an intravenous drip attached straight to our brains so we can look at a screen and listen to music at the same time – sensory overload. We are also fully connected to other technology in our day to day lives, through such devices as Fitbits and smart watches (which basically do the same thing as our cell phones); so do we really need them?
The easy way out
There is no escaping the need to be more connected and our feeling of a growing reliance on technology to live our daily lives. With our head’s buried in our cell phones we may not see life pass us by, that treasured moment at your child’s school play or beautiful sunset (that does not need to be then posted on Instagram)…. or that oncoming car. Cell phones also give us an easy way out. Picture this, you are at social event with unfamiliar people, do you go and mingle or do you stick with the only familiar face you do know, old faithful the iPhone?
Digital Detox, is it possible?
I loved a recent piece in the news about a restaurant in the UK that has banned/blocked the use of cell phones whilst dining in their establishment because they want people to enjoy the experience of going out and actually talking to each other. Have we really forgotten how to talk to such an extent that we need to have a way of forcibly preventing us from checking our cell phones? It may be hard at work to leave the daily email alone or that oh so important spreadsheet, but at home you can just put those devices down and be with your friends and family in person, in the moment.
Technology to stop technology!
Could it be that we are unable to switch off even at home or our leisure time? Do we need technology to stop technology like the example of the restaurant in UK? There are apps available to monitor your usage such as checkyapp so you have a starting point from which to work from. Instead of going cold turkey try weaning yourself off your cell phone, by putting you cell out of easy reach and certainly don’t let it be the last thing you look at before bed. Get an old fashioned watch and a good book and unplug yourself from technology and, if you are feeling strong enough, try a cell phone free day!
Cell phone addiction – Digital sugar?
So we all think sugar is addictive, right? Our cell phone addiction is causing us to walk looking down, where we can’t cross the road without almost being knocked over because we can’t pull ourselves away from our devices. We have cities now installing special lanes on sidewalks/pavements that cater for those of us who would rather have our face buried in our cell phones rather than looking up into the sun. Our kids are given cellphones or ipads to use at restaurants while the parents share small talk and periodically sneak a quick check of their cell phone’s. Have we forgotten how to talk?
But it may kill you quicker…..
We are also taking unnecessary risks whilst driving and texting. Leave those cell phones alone people! So sugary foods and your cell phone are both highly addictive, habitual and could at some point kill you. Think about it: do you really need to watch a sporting event through Twitter or your child’s sports day through a 5-inch screen? Try being present in the moment by storing that memory in the old fashioned way – in your head, instead of on Facebook or Instagram. We all talk about sugar being highly addictive and bad for us, yet I hear very little about how addictive technology is becoming, especially cell phones…..do you suffer from cell phone addiction?
How are you dealing with cell phone addiction…….any tips for a digital detox?