Can you even remember what life was like before you had your Apple iPhone or some other brand of smartphone? Can you imagine for a second going back to that life? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Pros: On the positive side we can be accessed real time, all the time, every day and night of our lives. In addition, the ability to text makes communication must faster than using email. You can bypass all the expected niceties that are expected on a phone call or in a meeting or email, which allows you to respond to far more items faster. Plus we have the power of a phone, a camera, a calculator, a GPS, a wallet, and a zillion other features and apps that we get the luxury of carrying in our pocket or purse. It’s amazing!
Cons: We can be accessed real time, all the time, every day and night of our lives (you knew that was coming). We live in constant fear that we must be accessible at all times, because who knows what will happen and when will it happen, and we certainly cannot miss out on being available when “it” happens – whatever “it” is?! It is truly crazy to feel so worried about being reachable at any hour, day or night, yet that is what results from carrying around an iPhone every day of our lives. It is a genuine addiction that is truly something you cannot leave home without. In fact, if we accidentally leave home without it we will immediately turn around and go back regardless of how far we have already driven because we are totally and utterly addicted!
No question that the Pros outweigh the Cons of having our smart devices, but we do need to be careful not to let our addiction of real time, all the time, any time take over our lives. So how do we know if we are using our smartphones wisely or if we are truly addicted?
Dr. Mark Griffiths actually did a study on addiction to smartphones and he stated that if you answer YES to at least six the questions listed below then you show signs of a true smartphone addiction.
“My mobile phone is the most important thing in my life”
“Conflicts have arisen between me and my family and/or my partner about the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone”
“My mobile phone use often gets in the way of other important things I should be doing (working, education, etc.)”
“I spend more time on my mobile phone than almost any other activity”
“I use my mobile phone as a way of changing my mood”
“Over time I have increased the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone during the day”
“If I am unable to use my mobile phone I feel moody and irritable”
“I often have strong urges to use my mobile phone”
“If I cut down the amount of time I spend on my mobile phone, and then start using it again, I always end up spending as much time on my mobile phone as I did before”
“I have lied to other people about how much I use my mobile phone”
I have a feeling a lot of people just read those questions and gulped. Dr. Griffiths does suggest that when a person is addicted to their smartphone it is symptomatic of an underlying problem in their life that they may want to seek help for….…I was just relieved he didn’t ask if you kiss your smartphone goodnight before you go to bed 😉
At the end of the day I am grateful for our smartphones and I can’t believe we used to live life without them! But I also admit that it would be nice if we could all learn to put them down more often and communicate more with each other, or at least turn them off at a certain time of day to focus on our families and loved ones. If our devices are to be a blessing and not a curse then we have to be the ones to regulate their usage far better than we do today. So I guess tonight I will make my iPhone all alone…without a goodnight kiss 🙂