In today’s digital, social-first age, some of us might be wondering “Am I a technology addict?”. And with so much on offer, it’s no surprise. We’re always available – even when we’re on the go. We can even answer the phone and text from our smart watches. It can be hard to imagine how we’d we cope without them?
The first theme I’m going to discuss in this blog, is our dependence on mobile phones. I’ll be splitting this topic into several parts. The first being how mobiles have made us rely on being permanently connected.
I won’t be discussing anything relating to social media or other functions of our smart phone (games, music, video) as these topics subjects deserve their own space. But would like us to consider how much we use the basic connective elements of our mobile phones in our daily lives (calls texts and emails).
In the year 2000 around 49% of people owned a mobile phone. According to Statista, the current number of mobile phone users is 7.10 billion, which makes 89.90% of people in the world mobile phone owners.
In the last 15 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 more specifically in the ways we use our mobile devices.
Socially, if everyone else is on their phones, we also feel the need to pick up ours. At work, we feel we need to be on hand 24/7 to answer those emails or to resolve issues immediately.
Let’s think about that for a second. With a work phone, we’re carrying the responsibility of our workplace in our pocket. If we didn’t respond to an email – our bosses or colleagues might wonder why we haven’t. How often should we really be be checking our work emails? If we don’t check it, will someone else resolve the issue and get the credit? Will our bosses think we’re up to no good? What are we missing out on?
These are questions many of us can relate to. And as stated a previous Therapy in London blog I’ve missed out on work opportunities 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 phone light up. I have a text message. I’m busy at work, but I start to wonder who it is. A random thought pops into my head (‘I had spare tickets to the movie premiere, 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. Engaging with this distracts me from my work at and enters me into a conversation I don’t have time for, but still I feel compelled to continue it.
So, am I really a technology addict?
This is not so much about our mobile phones, but instead, our relationships with them.
There’s no doubt about it, the feeling of connection is addictive, but also necessary in this technology-charged world. We’re expected to be on hand 24 hours a day. But I invite you to consider – 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”.
Reflecting on this, we can see that many students feel the same emotion as a drug withdrawal from being unplugged – just for one day – showing the signs of being a technology addict.
What I am talking about here is not new. We know that connection via our smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, the leader of the study, Professor Moeller, said “Many students could not give up technology as would be ostracised from their friends”. Like man of us, these students felt that giving up technology would be socially detrimental for the,.
So, to test out the research mentioned I decided to embark on my own heuristic research into the subject.
I have decided to spend three days without my mobile phone or any form of social media.
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. I will be still using emails at home and make calls from my home phone. Wish me luck!