The Digital Age
While internet addiction must have existed to some extent during the late twentieth century when these technologies were first emerging, phone and internet addiction is now an epidemic to an extent in this digital age. Not only are social media companies intentionally baiting consumers to become addicted to their products, but the device manufacturers themselves are playing a hand in this issue as well.
Cell phones and other mobile devices have become more and more addictive as they evolve. This is mainly due to the ease of access. With longer battery life, teens can stare at their screens for hours at a time without having to leave their beds. Larger screens make it more appealing to watch content on your devices.
Advanced design in the technical aspects of the phone itself, like button placement, makes it so that a simple finger twitch can allow for complete control over the device – even if it seems more and more like the device has complete control over you. Now, mobile devices can link with each other, so people are encouraged to interact with their technology more often.
You can watch something on your phone, open your laptop and continue a text message conversation, and then project whatever you were watching onto your television screen. There are now even some refrigerators that you can text on!
Many teenagers and young adults will admit that they usually are consistently using more than one form of technology at once; some people keep a show playing in the background while they use their computer to do work, and sneak breaks in between by checking their phone.
These developments have created an environment in which people are now completely over-saturated and over-stimulated by their devices. Accessibility, which was once praised as one of the greatest achievements of these technologies, is become one of the most unfortunate distractions the human mind has ever had to face.
Why Cell Phones are Distracting
It is no secret that distracted workers and students are not productive. Studies show that the more dependent people become upon their devices, the stronger the distraction effect is. This is because when people use their devices, an area of the 26 OVERCOME PHONE ADDICTION brain labeled the “privileged attentional space” is activated. This area of the brain is usually activated in situations where someone is calling our name. This means that people are developing into closely associating their phones with their identity, their idea of existing.
As seems apparent from the way of the world now, being apart from your device can seem like you have been separated from a part of yourself.
Cell phones are more than just tools to a person with a smartphone addiction – even though that is ultimately what they are, tools to be used. Cell phones represent much more than that to an avid and compulsive user, now.
These devices represent their friends and access to them. They represent accessibility and validation. Almost everyone now has a supercomputer in their back pocket, with the ability to known relatively anything that anyone has ever known in a matter of seconds – or minutes, depending on your internet provider and proximity to a cell tower. They represent power.
And what seems most interesting, these devices represent an opportunity. With a cellphone you can know virtually anything, contact virtually anyone, discover virtually anything – heck, you can use a GPS and travel nearly anywhere! Cellphones seem to represent the opportunity for something to happen, and humans love the opportunity. What seems like a freeing tool is actually contorting a person’s ability to act without it.
How Much Time You Spend on Your Phone
Imagine the following scenarios.
You are out with your partner on a date, and they go to the restroom so you check your phone. You are in class and the instructor is speaking unengagingly on a topic you are already familiar with, so you check your phone. You just put your new- born child to sleep and even though you are exhausted from no sleep, you check your phone.
You feel sad and you want an escape from reality, you reach for your phone. You feel happy and you want to share your success with your friends, you reach for your phone. You wake up in the morning and before you get out of bed, you check the news. Before you go to bed you catch up on the day’s events – before checking your phone.
How many people currently reading can resonate with the described daily events? Some people live their entire lives like this. Excessive phone usage is such a well-known problem that software engineers have even created an app to track how often you use apps!
As of now, nearly over two hundred and seventy-million Americans own or use a smartphone. The average screen time for Americans averages out to about ten and a half hours collectively every single day. The recommended amount of screen time for anyone should be around two hours, nearly 80% less than the current recorded number.
Typically, the average person spends about two and half hours of that time on social media, but this amount of time can be much more, up to even five hours. Imagine that – almost 50% of a person’s day consumed by some form of digital media. Unfortunately, in the modern world, many adults have jobs that require them to use a screen to complete their work duties.
Nevertheless, almost half of an entire day spent burning your eyes out looking at a screen is not good for anyone. Some experts have calculated that a person might spend seven hundred and sixty thousand hours looking at a screen in their lifetime. In other words, this rounds out to nearly a decade of your life spent looking at a screen, collectively.
Studies have discovered that people pick up their phones about ninety-six times a day, which calculates out to look at your phone once every ten minutes. Any parents of a teenager would surely not be surprised by that statistic.
This has so many adverse health effects, not only for the mind and mental health but also regarding eye strain and back pain resulting from poor posture and not moving often enough. As you can see, compulsive phone usage has increased greatly and screen time numbers look out of control.
The amount of time the average American spends on their phone is absurd and unhealthy. Phones and mobile devices are becoming less like the tools they were designed to be and more like mental bear traps. The reality of phone usage is extremely far from that which is recommended by specialists.
The time people spend on their phones absolutely must be limited if there is to be a wide-scale change in how people approach phone addiction. Due to the nature of modern work tasks and how businesses must operate, it is understandable if not unfortunate that workers have to use screens during the workday.
However, this translates into people needing to cut their screen time outside of work and truly only using these devices when it is necessary, not only when it is convenient.