The first theme I would like to speak about in this blog is the use of mobile phones.
As I see this as a big theme within how technology affects us I will be splitting this topic into parts. The first being how mobiles have made us rely on being permanently connected, on hand at work, in our personal lives and the effect it is having on us.
I will not be discussing any aspects relating to social media or other functions of the smart phone (games, music, video) as I feel these subjects deserve their own section, but would like us to consider how much we use the basic connective arsenal of a mobile phone in our daily lives (calls texts and emails).
In the year 2000 around 49% of people owned a mobile phone. The figure now stands at 94%.
So in the last 15 or so years not having a mobile phone has taken you from being in the majority to a minority in England.
Connection is a prevalent theme in technology and specifically mobile devices. Without them we are not on hand to answer phone calls from friends or send text messages to our loved ones. Socially then if everyone else is using devices, we feel obliged ourselves to use them.
Even more so in business we feel we need to be on hand 24/7 to answer that email or to resolve an issue.
Lets think about that for a second. With a work phone we are carrying around the responsibility of our place of work in our pocket. If we did not respond to an email why not? How often should I be checking my work email? If I don’t check it will someone else resolve the issue and get the credit? What am I missing out on?
(As stated a previous Therapy in London blog I have missed out on work due to not being able to access my personal email instantly.)
If we allow the pendulum to swing back to our personal lives the same can be said with a missed call or a text from friends.
Out of the corner of my eye I see my Samsung glow. I have a text message, I am busy at work but who is it. The thought comes into my head (‘had a spare tickets to the movie premier, but you didn’t get in contact soon enough so I’m taking Jeff instead’ ) The urge is uncontrollable. I must find out who it is, what they want and respond in adequate finesse, further distracting me from my work at hand and entering into a convocation I do not have time for but feel compelled to perpetuate. (In actuality it is more likely to be your significant other sending you a picture of a cat, but we will get onto animal pictures in a later blog.)
This is not so much about the mobile phone. It is about my relation to it.
Connection is seductive, addictive but also necessary in this technology charged world where we are expected to be on hand 24 hours a day. What I invite you to consider is at what cost?
A study of students asked to switch off their technology for a day found that many said they felt “emotions such as fretful, confused, anxious, irritable, insecure, nervous, restless, crazy, addicted, panicked, jealous, angry, lonely, dependent, depressed, jittery and paranoid” .
Lets reflect back on that. Many students feel the same emotion as a drug withdraw (depressed, jittery and paranoid for example) from being unplugged from technology for one day.
What I am talking about here is not new. We know that we have connection to each other and phones have become an integral part of our lives. In fact leader of the study, Proff Moeller, said ‘Many students could not give up technology as would be ostracised from their friends’ . The way I understand the statement then is that it would be socially detrimental for many of us to give up technology.
So to test out the research mentioned I have decided to do some heuristic research into the subject (Introduction to heuristic research).
I have decided to spend 3 days without my mobile phone, social media or any other tablet or roaming of Wifi enabled device outside of my home in order to write my introspective findings in my next blog entry.
This is a study to see the effect of not having access to a mobile phone or any other communication device out of my home environment, has on me over the three day period. Therefore I will be still using Emails at home and making calls from my home phone.
To see day one the research please click here.